England have banished the unhappy memories of going out of UEFA Women's EURO 2013 in Sweden last July with just a single point with a superb start to FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying.
Last autumn, under caretaker manager Brent Hills following Hope Powell's departure, England beat Group 6 rivals Belarus, Wales and – twice – Turkey, totalling 20 unanswered goals in the process. Since then Mark Sampson has taken over as permanent head coach, leading England to second place at last month's Cyprus Women's Cup, and now he makes his competitive bow as Montenegro visit Brighton on Saturday, aiming for a fifth victory before the crucial meetings with Ukraine in May and June.
Jade Moore, who went to Sweden but did not play, became a regular squad member under first Hills and now Sampson. The 23-year-old Birmingham City LFC midfielder spoke to UEFA.com about their goal of making the finals in Canada next summer.
UEFA.com: In the last year you broke into the England senior team – how has that experience been, particularly going to Sweden?
Jade Moore: For myself, Sweden was a really good experience. For a lot of players that were involved in the playing aspect, they didn't have so good a tournament. But for myself as a young player coming into the set-up, it was a major tournament for me, it was one to get under my belt and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
UEFA.com: You have just been at the Cyprus Cup – how important is it for an international team to have that almost 'club' camp for a couple of weeks, which obviously the men's internationals don't really get to experience?
Moore: It's important, especially as there's new players coming in, players coming out, obviously the change in staff members – it gives us that time to gel and get to know each other, and work on things that need to be done on the pitch. And it gives you enough time to build foundations, really, and that's what you need. That's probably what the men don't get enough of – building foundations, playing together and finding out what makes each other tick.
UEFA.com: You've got qualifiers coming up against Montenegro at Brighton and Ukraine in Shrewsbury; having made a good start to qualifying, what are you expecting from these games – Ukraine obviously being a key one?
Moore: I think every international fixture is going to be hard and you have to do your homework behind the scenes. As for those two teams, I don't personally know that much about them, but for us as a whole they're going to be tough opposition, I'm sure, because it's a World Cup qualifier. But I think it's for us to carry on the momentum we've left off at, and try and get the three points in each game to lead us into that World Cup.
UEFA.com: Is getting to Canada for the finals a big ambition?
Moore: Yes definitely, that's one of the top ambitions you can have as a footballer, to play in a World Cup. I've played in two youth World Cups, which was two massive opportunities. I had one where I was sat on the bench and got to experience it on the sidelines, and one where I was played and heavily involved in, but we didn't do so well. So all that experience I think ties in, and hopefully I'll get that opportunity at senior level if we get there.
UEFA.com: From your youth days, the core of the 2009 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship winners in Belarus are now in the seniors; is it an advantage that you played together in the junior levels?
Moore: Definitely, I think it shows when we're training and we're involved in sessions that you don't lose that little bit of connection with certain players that you've played with for so long. A lot of us that were in that Belarus squad when we won were all at the Loughborough training development centre – I think that was a massive benefit as to why we did so well. But, again, you can see that we have previously played with each other, we know each other, we're quite friendly on and off the pitch, and I think it definitely helps.
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.