When Gemma Davison travelled to Liverpool to watch a Julio Baptista-inspired Arsenal win 6-3 at Anfield in January 2007, she never thought that one day she would be stepping out at the world-famous stadium herself.
But six years on, that seemingly unlikely scenario is about to become reality for the 26-year-old.
Arsenal Ladies take on their Liverpool counterparts at the 45,000-capacity stadium in Friday evening’s FA Cup semi-final, with Davison and her team-mates eager to eradicate the pain of being knocked out of the Champions League at the last-four stage by VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday.
“For me personally, a loss like against Wolfsburg is only going to drive me harder to take my frustrations out against whoever I play next - in a positive way of course,” Davison told Arsenal.com. “Everybody is going to be raring to go.
“I remember when I went to watch Arsenal play Liverpool at Anfield and the atmosphere was unbelievable.
“It's one of the best places I've ever watched a game of football and it will be really amazing to play there because the place has a lot of history. But more importantly, they've got a great team this year so to play against them will be a really good challenge. It will be an interesting game.
“Liverpool have signed some top players and built on what they had last year. The likes of Fara Williams and Natasha Dowie will always pose a threat wherever they go so we're going to be well prepared for that on Friday.”
"I love doing tricks - I'm like a child! I spend half my time on YouTube watching Neymar videos"
Since returning from the United States last year, armed with confidence and self-belief, Davison’s lively displays on the flanks have seen her go from strength to strength.
The winger idolises Brazilian tricksters Ronaldinho and Neymar and she cites enjoyment of the game as the inspiration behind her style of play.
Davison’s impressive performances have not gone unnoticed and she was last week named on the shortlist for the inaugural PFA Women’s Player of the Year award.
“It was flattering for me to be nominated by the PFA,” she said. “Every player in the league wants to get noticed. I feel like it's starting to become my time. I know a lot of the girls do know what I'm capable of and Arsenal have always had a strong backing from all the players.
"It was flattering for me to be nominated by the PFA. I feel like it's starting to become my time."
“I coach a lot and the kids are always teaching me new tricks that I can take to training and teach Dan Carter and Kim. I love doing tricks - I'm like a child! I spend half my time on YouTube watching Neymar videos. I'm obsessed with stuff like that. I think you just need to enjoy football.
“That's why I love Ronaldinho. He did things on the pitch that people wouldn't even dream of trying. He always pulled it off. He made it look so easy.
“I have enough self-confidence to express myself now. I know what I bring to the table at Arsenal Ladies Football Club. We all compliment each other's game.
“I'm at an age where I'm starting to understand that experience does mature you as a player. I'm at the stage in my football where I'm using everything I've ever learned - going to the United States and what I've learned here - are being pieced together. I know what I'm about now and I know what I can do.”
The Ladies celebrate winning the 2011 FA Women's Cup
For now the immediate target is advancing to the final of the only domestic cup competition that eluded the Ladies last year.
Defeat in last year’s semi-final against Chelsea hurt the squad and Davison maintains that the only way to eliminate the memory of that loss will be to reclaim the trophy that the Ladies last won in 2011.
“What everyone needs to remember is that we got knocked out at this stage last year,” she said. “We're here to make our presence known because it really hurt not to make the final last season.
“We have such high expectations every year. We set ourselves the highest standards anyway, but this year there is so much extra incentive to win the FA Cup because we do not want to be in the same place that we were in last year. That was really hard. It would be massive for us to win back the FA Cup.”
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