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The 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro Finals will kick off in the Netherlands on 16th July. This year sees the competition grow with 16 teams taking part.

Expectations for England Lionesses is high, following their third place position in the 2015 FIFA World Cup. The Lionesses start their campaign with their opening game against Scotland on the 19 July. England Manager Mark Sampson believes England’s 3-0 win over Austria, their last game before the finals will fill his players with confidence ahead of Euro 2017. The Lionesses are fourth in the FIFA rankings, their highest ever position, and Sampson trusts his players to arrive in the Netherlands feeling ready to justify their elevated status.

As the Lionesses undertake their final preparations before the tournament we took time to catch up with Jo Potter, England and Reading defender.

An interview with Jo Potter, England and Reading defender

What is your proudest achievement to date?
When I started playing football at the age of 10, I never thought that I would be able to make it a full-time career.

I went full-time three years ago and I really think it has helped to prolong my career. I now have the time to look after my body properly and everything is focused on what I need to be an elite athlete, whether it’s strength and conditioning, coaching, nutrition or rest.

Who has been your greatest inspiration? Why?
My mum is a huge inspiration to me. When I was younger she worked full time, at one point she even had two jobs, but she still found the time to support me and my brother and two sisters. She had a great work ethic and would do anything to support
me, take me to training, games. She still comes to watch me in every game now.

What are the three key things that have contributed to your success?
Determination – I have always been very driven and personally determined. Always wanting to get better – as a footballer it’s about knowing your potential and how to reach it. I would never want to regret anything.

Understanding and learning the game – I really pride myself on studying and understanding the game. I am a UEFA B Licence qualified coach and started coaching 5-11 year olds in 2008.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t have any regrets. It may be easier to take a steady path, but it’s important to push and challenge yourself.

Tell us one thing about yourself which might surprise people
I got a tattoo done on my arm in Thailand, with bamboo stick.

How you do chill out?
I really like to watch box sets and listen to music. I’m currently watching Game of Thrones, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.

If you had £100 how would you spend it?
I would go out for a good meal, I really like tapas.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I have just launched a new girls’ football academy called JP11. It gives young women aged 16-19 the opportunity to fulfill their football and education potential. They will get football coaching and play while studying for different qualifications.

We start in September with the first intake of students and I can’t wait to get working with the new intake and watch it grow over the next few years.

What does the average day hold for you?
It’s a training session in the morning and gym in the afternoon – unless it’s match day. It’s also about focusing on eating right and getting enough rest.

Training and gym, eating right, sleeping.

Do you get enough sleep?
Yes, I do. Sleep is so important in terms of recovery.

Do you believe in luck, fate or just hard work?
I believe if you are meant to be in a certain place you’ll be there but hard work underpins everything.

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