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Finland's Nora Heroum on Women's EURO anticipation, her fluid role and her footballing hero

"It's going to be a very amazing tournament, one of the biggest," said the versatile defender and midfielder as she looked forward to the finals with the official Women's EURO TikTok account.

 Nora Heroum: 'Sometimes I’m a midfielder, sometimes I’m a defender'
Nora Heroum: 'Sometimes I’m a midfielder, sometimes I’m a defender' UEFA via Getty Images

Versatile Finland and Lazio defender-cum-midfielder Nora Heroum sat down for a chat with the @womensfootball team, to talk through the atmosphere in her team's training camp, her heroes and her fondest memories of playing international football.

How are you feeling about spending time together with the team?

Watch great Finland qualifying goals

I'm very excited. It's going to be a very amazing tournament, one of the biggest, I guess. It's in England – the football country – so the atmosphere will be very nice, for sure. We have a good, tough group, so we have good games coming up. I feel like we are ready. We have been waiting for this for one year so, finally, it's starting.

Is it nice to be coming back to England where I played with Brighton. Brighton: what a lovely city and what a lovely team we had. It's nice to come back to England, as women's football is growing there.

How would you describe your Finland team?

Our biggest strength is our group. We are a very good group. We have a very good atmosphere in the team. Many of us have played together for a very long time. I feel like we have so many different types of players, different types of talent, different types of skills. We were so sad about not qualifying for the 2017 finals. Now we are back.

Our men's team was in the EUROs for the first time in history, so football is getting bigger and bigger in Finland. It's amazing to see in my career how much it has grown, not only in Finland but also in the world – so many big men's teams but also now big women's teams too. It is getting bigger and bigger so, all young girls, you can dream of playing professionally anywhere.

Linda Sällström: one to watch for Finland
Linda Sällström: one to watch for FinlandUEFA via Getty Images

Which Finland player should we be looking out for at the finals?

I would say Linda Sällström, our forward. We had the qualification games and she scored ten goals. She was actually the second top scorer. We scored 24 goals and she scored ten of them, so she's doing very well and she's a very good forward, so I'm sure she will also be good this summer.

Me and Adelina Engman are like sisters a little bit. I also spend my free time with her. We have been on holiday. She is also a very good player, a very fast wide midfielder or forward, so I think you should also watch out for her at the EUROs.

Your Panini sticker has you down as a midfielder but you are a defender in the squad: has there been a mistake?

Well, that's the question! I have many positions. Sometimes I'm a midfielder, sometimes I'm a defender, but with the national team I've mostly been a defender lately. I have been a midfielder for many years and sometimes also for my club team I play as a midfielder. It's a little bit confusing, but it's better to play in different positions.

Heroum plays her club football in Italy with Lazio
Heroum plays her club football in Italy with LazioGetty Images

How do you feel about taking on Denmark?

We have respect for Denmark. They are ranked 15 in the FIFA rankings; they are a good team, so it's going to be a tough game for sure. I played in Fortuna Hjørring [with Denmark's Signe Bruun and Nadia Nadim]. It was nice; they are very nice girls, and very good players. I'm looking forward to seeing them as a person, obviously, but also playing against them.

What is your go-to pre-match meal and post-match meal?

I usually eat pasta. I try to load carbs and that's also what our physical coach always says: "Yes, carbs, carbs, carbs." So yes, I usually eat pasta before a game. Sometimes after the game I can't eat anything. I'm still so excited, so sometimes I don't even feel hungry.

Heroum's role model Pavel Nedvěd
Heroum's role model Pavel NedvědAFP via Getty Images

Who was your role model growing up?

Well, mine was actually Pavel Nedvěd. He was my favourite player for sure. For many years, I always had his shirt. He was my favourite player when I was a child. And, in the Finnish national team, in the women's side, it was Laura Kalmari. I was watching her in 2009, at the EUROs in Finland.

What have been your fondest memories of your time with the national team?

Well, definitely the 2013 EUROs, that was an amazing experience. I was only 18 so I was still young, but it was an amazing experience and that's why I can't wait for this tournament because this is definitely bigger now as women's football is growing so much. You will always remember these kinds of tournaments, so I will enjoy all of it.

Women's EURO 2013 was very exciting. I had been with the team for maybe one and a half years so I was still kind of like a new wonder and young, in high school still, so it was a big experience. I'm happy that I enjoyed it at that time and didn't take so much pressure, so it was a great experience. Now, obviously, I've grown up and seen much more and been a better player so I can't wait for this to start.

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