Wigan league 'restructured' because of Lioness' talent!

Euro 2022 hero Ella Toone was such a talented schoolboy footballer she was partly responsible for a girls league being set up!

The 22-year-old from Tyldesley scored England's opening goal in the 2-1 final victory over Germany on Sunday afternoon.

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This is just the start - Wigan borough's Lioness star

It's a far cry from her first steps in the game, with Astley & Tyldesley FC, when she started off at the age of five.

Ella Toone, with former Fred Longworth schoolmate Keely HodgkinsonElla Toone, with former Fred Longworth schoolmate Keely Hodgkinson
Ella Toone, with former Fred Longworth schoolmate Keely Hodgkinson
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However, coach Lee Povah soon realised he had a star on his hands.

“I knew Ella’s family and she wanted to play football and came to train with us," he explained.

“Ella was naturally gifted and stuck out like a sore thumb because she was absolutely brilliant.

“It soon became apparent Ella was really good at football – she was mustard.

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“She was quick on her feet, had a good first touch, was really skillful and had an eye for a goal.

"Our entire game plan as a team was to get the ball to Ella!

“But at the time, we didn’t have a girls team...there were not any girls’ teams in the area.

“I was working for Wigan Schools Sports Partnership, so I approached Wigan Football Development Forum and on the back of that, we agreed to set up a girls league.

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"We set up Astley and Tyldesley Girls and a league to get her and girls like her playing football because that’s what they wanted to do."

With the women's game now enjoying a higher profile than ever before, Povah believes Toone and her Lioness colleagues will become inspirations for generations to come.

"She was so committed and played football all the time and was always kicking a ball about,” he added, in the 'i' paper. “Everything she and the Lionesses have achieved is brilliant.

"It is not just massive for girls’ football, but the sport as a whole as there’s been a huge interest in it because it is football competing at the highest level."

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Povah also says fame will not change the down-to-earth girl from the north west.

“Ella is a really nice, normal girl with a great sense of humour and there’s no edge to her," he added.

“She still comes back to watch local football and isn’t arrogant or big-headed and just loves football.”

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