This summer, England will take part in the 2013 Uefa Women’s European Championship in Sweden.
Arsenal Ladies winger Rachel Yankey is part of Hope Powell’s squad and will be keeping fans up to date with a regular diary for Arsenal.com over the course of the tournament.
In her first entry, she talks breaking the England caps record, an upcoming team-mate's wedding and how she was persuaded to join Twitter.
By Rachel Yankey
It was extremely weird but really good to break the England appearance record against Japan on Wednesday afternoon. It’s an achievement that I’m proud of and the support of everyone has been brilliant. I’ve recently joined Twitter (more on that later) and have received loads of nice messages from fans, which I really appreciate.
"I captained the side on Wednesday, which was a nice touch. I’ve only skippered the team once before, when I won my 100th cap, so it was special to get given the armband"
I captained the side on Wednesday, which was a nice touch. I’ve only skippered the team once before, when I won my 100th cap, so it was special to get given the armband.
The BBC are doing documentaries on the squad and managed to track down Tony Chelsea, my first ever coach. I met up with him after the game and got a bit emotional - which all the girls have given me some abuse for!
We were quite pleased with our performance against Japan. It’s a result that we can build on - not many teams go 1-0 up against the world champions. As you would expect, Japan offered us a stern test. The way they play is dependant on keeping the ball and it’s hard to stay organised and disciplined against them because they try and play through you, so you always have to be on guard.
The team is really starting to gel. We played Holland behind closed doors too and it's been good because the less experienced players have had some time to impress and you can feel that they are part of the team. Hopefully we can stick together and make sure that the camaraderie is good and that we are enjoying ourselves off the pitch so that when we go on it, we can play with freedom.
We are based at St George’s Park at the moment and it’s brilliant! The best thing is that you are all on site. You stay at the hotel so you can get up, have breakfast, train and go back to the hotel to relax. There are no long bus journeys - you can get the most out of the downtime and have the medical facilities within walking distance.
"We were quite pleased with our performance against Japan. It’s a result that we can build on - not many teams go 1-0 up against the world champions"
I’m off to Emma Byrne’s wedding on Friday. Everyone loves Em and we all want to be there and support her on her big day. It's fantastic that we can go across to Ireland for her wedding. I get back on Saturday late afternoon, and then we’re off to Sweden on Monday for our final warm-up game on Thursday.
We’ll be based in Linkoping for the group stage and I think that once we get there, that tournament mentality will sink in. We need to make sure that everything is working at 100 per cent when we get there.
Anyway, as I alluded to earlier, I am now finally on Twitter! You can click here to see what I've been up to.
My room-mate Laura Bassett, who used to play for Arsenal, has been badgering me and I thought that if I don’t join now, she will carry on at me throughout the whole tournament - and I’ve got to spend a lot of time with her!
I did some work for the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust and Kelly Holmes herself asked why I wasn't on Twitter. Jeanette Kwakye was giving me a pep talk about it the other day, too. When you are being told by those people and most of the England squad, I suppose you've go to listen at some point! Here I am - I don't really know what I'm doing but I'm sure everyone can teach me over the summer.
That’s all for now, but make sure you keep your eye on Arsenal.com as I’ll be back with more before you know it!
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