Over the Easter weekend Gills U17s keeper, Katie Startup joined back up with her England teammates as they looked to secure a place in the European Finals in May.

24 teams in total qualified for the Elite rounds and were split in to six group of four with the winner and top runner-up progressing to the finals to join hosts Belarus. England was drawn against Iceland, Belgium and Serbia who hosted the qualifiers. 

England kicked off with a 3-1 win over Serbia before recording an impressive 5-0 win over Iceland and guaranteeing their spot in the finals. The girls then topped it off with a well-deserved 2-0 win over Belgium, making it three from three. 

Katie played the last 20 minutes against Iceland and the full game against Belgium and said “Absolutely buzzing that we have qualified for the European Finals, everyone was fantastic and I’m delighted with the clean sheets. It’s been a real squad effort with everyone playing their part in achieving qualification and I’m so proud to be a part of it.” 

Technical Director at the GFC Girls COE, Mark Patterson added “We are very honoured to have one of our players representing their country and we hope that Katie’s hard work will reward her with a place in the squad for the finals.”

The draw for the Finals takes place on 6th April and joining England in the draw are Germany, Spain (holders), Italy, Norway, Czech Republic, Serbia and Belarus. In 2013 the Lionesses finished fourth after suffering a shootout defeat to Italy in the third-place play-off and will be keen to better that as the top three progress to the World Cup taking place in Jordan in September. 

To find out more about the Girls Centre of Excellence at Gillingham FC please contact Georgia Bowie, gbowie@priestfield.com or 01634 350125.