Harrogate's England football star Rachel Daly opens up about her father's death

Video report by Chris Dawkes

An England footballer has opened up about how she was overcome with emotion when she scored for her country just days after losing her father.

Harrogate's Rachel Daly lost her father, Martyn, suddenly last September. Nine days later she netted in a record 10-0 win against Luxembourg.

Cameras captured her pointing to the sky in celebration at the goal and kissing her wristband. On it was written the word "dad".

She said: "Of all the goals I've scored it probably wasn't the most flashy goal but it was the sole meaning behind it. The girls came around me.

"I was literally in a huddle in tears in the middle of a game. I think they gave me the strength but ultimately the driving factor was my family and my dad."

Rachel played football with her dad and brother in the back garden.

Capped 44 times for her country, Daly recognises her father's influence on a glittering career that saw her named the National Women's Soccer League's Most Valuable Player in 2020 at club side Houston Dash.

"He was the reason I played football, going back to birth really. I came out wanting to kick a ball," she said.

"I don't think I'd have got that passion for the game if it wasn't for him."

Daly, 30, is back with the national team this week for the Arnold Clark Cup in Middlesbrough between some of the world's best nations.

Rachel Daly training with England on Tuesday Credit: PA

Having come through the youth system at Leeds United, she would no doubt relish playing at this summer's European Championships, partly hosted at Bramall Lane in Sheffield and Rotherham's New York Stadium.

For her, the Euros would be bittersweet. She said: "It's moments when I'm singing the national anthem, you're looking up at your family and there's a seat missing. And I think that's probably the hardest times.

"I know that somewhere dad will be looking at me beaming with pride. Everyday is another chance for me to do better to make him prouder."