The FAWSL returns this weekend in its all-new guise as a professional league and ahead of Arsenal’s mouth-watering tie with Liverpool on Sunday, Beth Mead has been speaking about the rise of women’s football and the upcoming season.

Mead, who recently scored a brace on her full international debut, is one of Arsenal’s brightest stars and was named England’s Young Player of the Year.

Guardian 8 September 2018

“Anyone can take points off you, that’s the exciting thing about the league,” Mead said.

“You’ve got to watch it for every team now. Playing in that professional environment, and training in that professional environment every single day has benefited our national team hugely.”

Mead then went on to speak about how the women’s game is starting to become more like the men’s but was keen to highlight how some things should not change.

“The girls don’t roll around a lot like the men,” she said. “They just get on with it. We’re a bit tougher. We’re not drama queens.”

The FA intends to double attendance at England matches to 22,000 and crowds atSuper League games to 2,000. “[It’s] what I call mainstreaming the sport,” Kelly Simmons, the new director of the women’s professional game said.

“In 10 years, women’s football will be the biggest team sport in this country.”

Beth Mead found the net twice as England beat Kazakhstan 6-0 to finish their World Cup qualifying group in style.

Sealing qualification for the tournament with a 3-0 win against Wales last Friday night, manager Phil Neville was able to rest a lot of big names to give his youngsters a chance to impress and that’s exactly what they did

Neville handed three players their first caps in Gabby George, Lucy Staniforth and Lauren Bruton with Staniforth also repaying his faith with a goal while Mead was handed her first start.

The Arsenal forward scored from the penalty spot to open the scoring after just nine minutes.

Mead then found the net for England’s fifth with just eight minutes left on the clock, beating the keeper with a low effort as she rushed out to meet Mead.

Mead signed for Arsenal in 2017, arriving from Sunderland with the reputation of being a goalscorer. She scored 77 goals in just 78 games for the Black Cats before her move.

It capped a disappointing day for Kazakhstan all-round. Their u18s managed to lose two matches on Tuesday, first 3-0 to Turkey and then 4-1 to Zenit St Petersburg.

Scotland, meanwhile, qualified for the World Cup for the first time in their history with a win over Albania.