Tuesday 7 August 2018

Under 20's World Cup opener for Maz Pacheco

"From the bench, to the starting eleven and staff, everyone was just brilliant.”

Mayumi (Maz) Pacheco indicated her amazement at England’s victory over North Korea after she played 71 minutes in the Under - 20s World Cup opener.

The recently signed left-back is currently in France with the young Lionesses, as they look to become World Cup winners. First up, was a tricky task against current holders – North Korea. A superb performance from England saw them run out as 3-1 winners, a game in which Pacheco impressed in.

She said: “It was an unreal feeling. We prepared really well for the game and we all knew our jobs and what we wanted/needed to do. We were relaxed and excited and that showed in our football. From the bench, to the starting eleven and staff, everyone was just brilliant.”

It wasn’t just the thought of entertaining the fans that got the players excited. Senior boss, Phil Neville, took his seat in the stands adding a slight extra incentive.

Pacheco stated: “He’s the big gaffer isn’t he. It does excite us to know he was there watching. We’re here to showcase what we can do and what we are about. Hopefully he will be proud of the performance we put in and know that we are knocking on the senior’s door.”

The 19-year-old has been impressive over the past few seasons. Her time at Doncaster Belles recently came to an end as she joined us here in Reading.

“We won the league at Doncaster Belles but I didn’t expect a club like Reading to have their eye on me. I appreciate it from Kelly, the staff and the team for thinking that I can fit in the team. It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down; back in full-time football and back in WSL 1. I had to take it with both hands.”

A big step-up in terms of division as well as targets for her personally and the club itself. The potential pressure will increase as the full-back looks to challenge herself at a higher level.

“I think coming from myself, I put more pressure on myself through what I want to do. I think Kelly is going to help me in terms of my development and the staff behind her and the players that I get to play with, I’m sure they’ll help take the pressure of me. It’ll help me learn and keep my feet on the ground.”

England take on Brazil next in the town of Dinan. You can catch it from 12:30 GMT, live on FIFA.com.

Article written by Dean Cooke