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England expects

This date and little else has been on the mind of England and Scotland since UEFA carried out the draw for Euro 2017 last year in Rotterdam.

(Photo: Chelsea FC)

The build-up has been big, expectations high and excitement even higher – not for my European Championship debut as a journalist, but for a British derby at a major tournament. What better chance to try and introduce fresh audiences to these Euro finals and to cut my teeth in the competition.

First up was a trip to the England training camp, a bucolic setting off the beaten track around Utrecht, in which the Football Association have clearly invested heavily. There I met Chelsea defender Millie Bright for an interview about Love Island as well as her emergence on the international stage.

Banter and Beyoncé abounded throughout the long weekend of preparations, which was when I also made my introductions with our prodigious striker Fran Kirby to discuss the mood in the squad and her return from injury.


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Warm-Up: Denmark 1-2 England

This friendly in Denmark was England's last chance to show their readiness for the Euros. Despite not quite dominating like we may have hoped, the Lionesses delivered. Match-winner and captain for the night, Ellen White stood out in an experimental line-up and, along with Karen Carney, was one of a couple of players who pressed their claim to a starting place.

It was also my main chance to prepare for the championships and the multiple commitments to come. An on-the-whistle match report for the Daily Mirrorwas a late addition to the customary Blues round-up in my Saturday evening schedule. Read that below or click for the Chelsea website article.

When the Lionesses next walk out against Scotland, I'll be watching live from the ground, which is tantalising both for me and my internet bill.

Unleash the Lionesses

The recent upsurge in publicity ahead of Euro 2017 – on billboards and buses, on Twitter and Channel 4 – has filled me with excitement and pride. First the 'Unleash Fierce' campaign, then the TV trailer (now Little Mix have come into the mix, I hear) displayed the drive and determination of the England Women. It could hardly be more deserved for these role models.

Today I was delighted to introduce Daily Mirror readers to the squad in a 'Meet the Lionesses' preview feature. I will be doing exactly that this weekend.

Tournament Preview

My comprehensive Euro 2017 preview for the official Chelsea website was intended to go out the day before I left for the Netherlands. The arrival of Sweden left-back Magdalena Eriksson, replacing Portugal legend Ana Borges, however, meant the article needed updating with the bittersweet news while I was out seeing the best and worst of Amsterdam before the matches.

Norway skipper Maren Mjelde, who is about to become the first Chelsea Ladies player to lead out her country at a major tournament, played the lead role. You can expect to here a good deal more from her when the tournament kicks off with their encounter against the hosts at a sold-out stadium on Sunday.

That game will be the highlight of this weekend, and then I'm spending the day down in Breda (have a google...) watching Eriksson in her first appearance since signing for the Blues. Hedvig Lindahl will also feature against Germany.

Do click here for how a proud feature for Chelsea eventually looked.