An England Under-19 women’s football star from Wigan has scored a hat-trick of As in her A-levels.
Megan Finnigan, 18, who is also the youngest player for Everton Ladies FC, learned about her top grades while training at the England camp at St George’s Park in Staffordshire.
The defender, who attended Winstanley College gained A grades in English language, history and geography.
She had already secured an A in philosophy and religion after taking the exam a year early.
She will now go on to study geography at the University of Liverpool in order to tie in with her gruelling training regime for Everton Ladies for whom she began playing at the age of nine.
Studious Megan, who has recently been to Sweden with the national team for the Euro Qualifiers elite round, was given the news by her proud mother, Maria.
Asked how she had managed to juggle her studies and her football, Megan, of Ashton-in-Makerfield, said: “A lot of hard work. I think I am naturally just a focused person and I have always been quite determined but I’ve never let football get in the way of education and vice versa.
“It is difficult to balance study and sport, especially as I was away with England at both Easter and half-term, along with training every night for Everton. It didn’t give me a lot of time to revise. If I didn’t have the stress, my life would be boring.”
In the run-up to her exams, Megan would train with her squad every evening before going home to study until midnight.
She would then get up at 5am in order to cram more study time in ahead of college and then more training.
She said: “It literally did kill me that month. I don’t know how I did it. I remember that as soon as my last exam - geography - was over I slept for about five hours.”
Asked why she did not choose physical education, she said: “I really enjoyed geography and history and chose both humanities. I thought that if I was going to make a career out of sport it would be through football rather than a sports science. My PE teacher wasn’t happy and I got some stick for it!
“I’m still not sure what I want to do but the degree at the minute is a back-up as I’d like to pursue a football career.”
She said her team-mates had been “really supportive” and added that her college had backed extra-curricular activities.
Megan recalled sitting one exam before having to board a flight to be with her squad in Iceland.
It will be her final year playing with the England Under-19s before moving into the senior category.
Megan, who has recently signed a two-year contract with Everton Ladies FC, said: “I want to continue playing at the highest level in football and ultimately also make the senior England squad.
“It’s always been a lifelong ambition to play in the Olympics or a World Cup. It would be the icing on the cake.”