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Poppy Pattinson on Everton’s ambitions, team spirit and the final FA Cup journey

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2020 saw the world of football fall into chaos.

In February, Poppy Pattinson lined up for Bristol City as the Robins lost 5-0 to Everton in the FA Cup, ending her side’s run in the 2019/20 competition in the fifth round.

Fast forward eight and a half months, and Pattinson arrived at Wembley for Everton in the 2019/20 FA Cup final.

“This is absolutely crazy,” said Pattinson 90 mins. “I think that probably sums up everything that’s going on in the world right now. Obviously it was an incredible opportunity and playing at Wembley is every English footballer’s dream. It was really amazing. ”

The FA Cup had been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and when Pattinson traded Bristol for Everton this summer, she was allowed to enter for the final stages of the competition.

The Toffees recorded a famous quarter-final victory over Chelsea at Goodison Park – Emma Hayes’ only loss would suffer throughout 2020 – and after gaining the upper hand over Birmingham they faced reigning champions Manchester City finally.

Everton faced favorites City for 90 minutes and led their illustrious opponents into overtime. They eventually suffered a 3-1 defeat, but reaching a major final associated with their recruiting over the past year is a sign of the Merseyside club’s rising ambitions.

“Obviously it wasn’t meant to be, but we felt like we had a good game, it wasn’t an easy task for them,” adds Pattinson. “Eviscerated, we couldn’t take the trophy home with us, but it’s one of our goals in the future to come back to this final and win it this time.

“Everton have huge goals in all teams. Especially among the women who attracted me, we have big goals this season. ”

Everton’s ambitions match Pattinson’s. The left-back moved from Sunderland to Manchester City at the age of 17, balancing training, playing, studying three A-levels and the 130-mile journey from Durham to Manchester.

“I just took it like it was what I had to do,” Pattinson said neutrally. “Being in the North East, the opportunities were quite limited, and there isn’t a women’s football club that really stands out.

Poppy Pattinson, Candela Andujar
Pattinson represented England at the Under-21 level | Quality sports images / Getty Images

“I just thought that if I wanted to be the player I had always aspired to, I had to step out of my comfort zone and travel.”

After a season at City, Pattinson left the north behind and signed her first professional contract at Bristol City in 2018. The club were keen to keep her beyond her two-year stay, but she was eager to take the plunge. and join a still progressing side of Everton in the summer of 2020.

The 20-year-old is a number of new signings who have moved to Merseyside in the past 12 months, including Champions League winner Izzy Christiansen, Australia international Hayley Raso and Norway international Ingrid Moe Wold .

Despite such an influx of new players from around the world, the Toffees clicked instantly and enjoyed an early start to the 2020/21 season – something Pattinson credits to their team spirit.

“It’s a great team and when I came in, I was very well received,” she enthuses. “Every day I come to training, I love it.

“We have so many different nationalities that it’s kinda crazy when everyone starts talking in their own language, is it kind of like what happens? some of the results we’re getting. “

Pattinson has also progressed in England’s youth levels and given her relentless ambition she is unsurprisingly targeting a senior call in the future.

Even when asked what she would do if she weren’t a footballer, Pattinson’s great aspirations come through. She says something trendy – “maybe start my own brand or something – aim high!”