England goalkeeper Hannah Hampton made her senior international debut on Sunday and believes her ability to speak Spanish “definitely helped” as the Lionesses drew 0-0 with Spain in the Arnold Clark Cup.
Hampton moved to Spain with her family at the age of five and played with the Villarreal academy for several years, before returning to England aged 10.
Speaking to the press after winning her first cap, the 21-year-old, who signed for Aston Villa from local rivals Birmingham City this summer, explained how that benefited her as she kept her clean sheet in her first game for her country.
What has been said?
“I can speak Spanish. I'm fluent in Spanish. I was actually saying to a few people at the end of the game, I was listening to everything that the Spanish were saying and telling everyone, 'They're going to do this. They're going to do that',” Hampton revealed. “That definitely helped!
“I don't think [the Spain players] knew. I knew a few of them from the youth age groups, coming through England and playing against them, so they might have remembered, but I don't think so.”
The young goalkeeper has been in a number of England squads over the last couple of years, going to the 2020 SheBelieves Cup as a training player and winning several call-ups since. However, this was her first time getting on the pitch, a moment she described as “a dream come true”.
“Honestly, I don't think I took a smile on my face from the moment I got told until now really, and I don't think it will be coming off my face for a long time,” she added.
“I couldn't really have planned it any better. You go over this day so many times in your head and what you wish for and, honestly, the game then was more than what I could have ever thought it would be.
“The wait was definitely worth it. Hopefully, there's many more [games] to come. But I'm not pushing for anything. I'm just going to see where it takes me and how often I get a chance, and if I get a chance again. At the end of the day, I've tried my best and that's all I can do.”
‘She has real high potential’
England head coach Sarina Wiegman was full of praise for Hampton after the game too, the Aston Villa shot-stopper making four saves to keep her clean sheet intact.
“She's a young player, very talented,” the Dutch coach said. “She just needs games like this also to develop. She's has real high potential. I think she showed that today.
“Her distribution was very good and that can harm other teams, our opponents. Apart for the one communication [mix-up] in the first half with Jess [Carter, defender], I think she did really well.
“That's why you need those games, to get used to each other at the highest level. I think she's happy, but we're all happy for her and with her performance.”