Beth Mead wants to help the women’s game continue to rise after the England forward finished Euro 2022 with a winner’s medal, the Golden Boot and the player of the tournament award.
The Lionesses got their hands on the first piece of major silverware in their history on Sunday as they were crowned European champions following a 2-1 extra-time victory over Germany in front of a record-breaking crowd at Wembley.
Mead also took the two individual accolades having scored six goals and provided five assists across the tournament.
Asked what she would do with the profile she now has, the 27-year-old said: “Do what I can to help the game.
“I’m here to play the game, I love doing what I’m doing and if I can help a per cent to get the women’s game out there and up there more, I’ll do that.”
She added: “It’s amazing for the game, not just for me. I really hope that this puts women’s football on the map and projects it to (another) level and (it) gets what it deserves.”
The prospect of Mead ending up with the Golden Boot was enhanced just prior to kick-off on Sunday by the news that Alexandra Popp, also on six goals for the tournament, had withdrawn from Germany’s starting line-up after sustaining an injury in the warm-up.
And regarding the player of the tournament award she ended up with as well, Mead said: “Mad – I didn’t expect it.
“The guy pulled me over and I was like, ‘oh God what I have done now?!’ Normally in trouble for something!
“But he said ‘you’re player of the tournament’. I was like…I still think I’m dreaming.”
When it was put to her that she was a trailblazer and an icon, the Arsenal winger said: “I’m just Beth Mead! It doesn’t sound right!”
A crowd of 87,192 – the biggest-ever attendance for any Euros match, men’s or women’s – saw Chloe Kelly seal victory with a 110th-minute finish after fellow substitute Ella Toone’s expert chip just after the hour mark was cancelled out by Germany’s Lina Magull with 11 minutes of normal time to go.
England celebrated a first major trophy for a senior side since the 1966 World Cup win against West Germany, while boss Sarina Wiegman could savour back-to-back Euros successes after leading her native Netherlands to the 2017 crown.
The Dutchwoman took charge of England last September and the team has subsequently gone unbeaten in 20 matches, with 18 wins and over 100 goals scored.
When Mead – who has netted 20 times under Wiegman – was asked about what the manager had said to the team at the crucial moments in the build-up to and during the final, she said: “What a woman! She was so calm.
“She believed in us, we believed in each other as a team and she didn’t actually have to say that much. We believed in the ability of this squad – and here we are.”
She added: “As a team, we’ve actually been really calm (in the build-up). There’s been a lot of buzz around but we’ve actually been pretty good at keeping ourselves in our bubble and just concentrating on what we’ve been doing.
“Credit to Sarina and the staff again, they’ve created that environment, and (on Sunday) I think we just said we’re going out and playing another game of football, and that really stuck I think in terms of not putting too much pressure on ourselves with the game.”