'She’s put Harrogate on the map': Lioness Rachel Daly's former PE teacher

Lioness Rachel Daly grew up in Harrogate in North Yorkshire. Her former PE teacher said she was always destined for great things. Credit: Handout

Lioness Rachel Daly from Harrogate has put her town "on the map" according to her former PE teacher Mike Sweetman.

The World Cup finalist grew up in Harrogate and went to Rossett School where she was taught by Mr Sweetman.

He said staff at the school always "knew she was destined for great things."

He added: “She was a great kid. She was mad about football, everything was about football.

“The first time we saw her, she was just amazing. She was at a different level than anybody else we had seen. She was just an outstanding footballer.

"She had all the physical attributes, but was also mentally tough as well. We knew she was destined for great things. But whether that was a World Cup final is another thing."

The women's England side beat Australia to play Spain in the World Cup final. The second time an England squad have played in a World Cup final since 1966.

Mr Sweetman said Daly's success in the tournament has had a massive impact on her hometown.

"She’s one of the most famous people we’ve had in the town", he said.

"We’re known as a holiday destination or as a tea shop town, but Rachel has put us on the map. She’s put Harrogate on the footballing map and now on the international map.

"She’s a legend already for what she’s achieved, never mind if they win on Sunday."

Mike Sweetman said Rachel was "football mad" when she was at school. Credit: Handout

Mr Sweetman said he thinks the Lioness world cup finalists have had a positive impact on women's football.

"We’ve got so many girls now playing football in the country and in Harrogate in particular.

"The whole thing is huge now. I don’t think we’re actually prepared for how big this is going to be.

"I'm getting myself ready for the meltdown in the country because This is going to be absolutely huge.

"Not just for Harrogate, not just for Rossett School, but for the whole country. I’m just getting myself prepared for what’s to come and I think it’s going to be huge."

Rachel Daly, seen here on the right, played for the Killinghall Nomads as a child. Credit: Handout

When asked what advice he had ahead of the World Cup final for his former student, Mr Sweetman said:

"She knows exactly what she has to do. She’s a brilliant player. She's at the peak of her game.

"It’s very hard for me, as a mere mortal, to advise a World Cup finalist. You can’t say try and enjoy the game because you really want to win the game.

"The only thing I would say is just be the best you could possibly be and don’t leave anything on the pitch. And she’ll do that. She'll be amazing."

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