Ella Toone: England have ‘left the shirt in a better place’ for next generations

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Ella Toone spoke of the Lionesses having “left the shirt in a better place for little girls growing up” after her superb goal helped England clinch the Euro 2022 title.

History was made on Sunday as the Lionesses won a major tournament final for the first time, beating Germany 2-1 after extra time at a packed Wembley.

Toone, shortly after coming off the bench, put England in front with an expertly-crafted chip in the 62nd minute, and fellow substitute Chloe Kelly then hit a 110th-minute winner following Lina Magull’s equaliser with just over 10 minutes of normal time left.

The 22-year-old said: “We can’t forget everyone who came before us, but we’ve left the shirt in a better place for all the little girls growing up and we’re so proud.

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“All we wanted to do was inspire the next generation and we have done and women’s football is getting bigger and bigger.

“I think a lot of people have fallen in love with women’s football this summer and that’s what we set out to do.

“So hopefully the crowds that we’ve had this summer, we can get into our grounds at club level and some more fans at the stadium to be on the journey with us.”

A Wembley crowd of 87,192 – the biggest-ever attendance for any Euros match, men’s or women’s – saw Toone latch on to Keira Walsh’s pass and send a wonderful effort over goalkeeper Merle Frohms and into the net.

“I’ve seen her coming out and I thought that would be the best shot to do,” Manchester United midfielder Toone said.

“I started celebrating even before it had gone in the net, so I was confident that it was going in, and then the whole stadium erupted. Honestly, (the) best feeling of my life.”

It was the second time in the campaign that Toone – who came off the bench in all six games – had scored, also notching England’s first when they came from behind to see off Spain 2-1 after extra time in the quarter-finals.

Substitutes making a significant impact has been a key aspect of the success Sarina Wiegman’s side have had throughout the Euros, with Toone’s United team-mate Alessia Russo, scorer of four goals, another prominent example.

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And Toone said: “You can see that the subs have made a massive impact in every game that we’ve come on for. Sarina has said that it’s a squad of 23, so we know our roles, we know that when we come on we have to change the game and that’s what we did.”

Asked about celebrating the Wembley triumph with Russo, Toone said: “Unbelievable, we started crying. To celebrate with Alessia is a dream come true for both of us.”

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