Chelsea forward Fran Kirby has praised her teammate Sophie Ingle following her inclusion in Hege Riise’s Team GB squad for the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
Ingle is the sole Welsh representative in the 18-person group and judging by the comments of her peers, the 29-year-old is absolutely worthy of her inclusion.
“Sophie is an incredible player, but most importantly, she’s an incredible person,” Kirby stressed. “I think I’ve gotten to know Sophie in these last few years and she absolutely deserves to be here.”
“She’s probably less known with the public, but she’s probably one of the most influential players that I’ve ever played with.”
The WSL’s Player of the Year didn’t stop there with the compliments, stressing that Ingle was a name to keep an eye on in Tokyo this year and highlighting her all-around game.
“I think she is someone that I think people need to watch in this Olympics because her game knowledge, her tactical approach, her possession [and her ability] on the ball, I think are really, really special.”
“I’ve been able to play alongside her and when she’s not in the team, you can see that something’s missing. So I think she is going to be a really really important player for this team if we’re going to go far in this competition.”
While Kirby was keen to emphasise the talent of Ingle, the Welsh star admitted she was surprised when she received the call-up.
“It still doesn’t feel real. Even when I got the email originally, I read it a few times before even letting my family know that the email actually said, ‘you’re going to Tokyo’. It’s a crazy feeling, and even being here today with the squad, it just hasn’t really sunk in yet.”
Great Britain start their Tokyo campaign on 21st July against Chile. The team will aim to go further than they did nine years ago when they reached the quarter-finals at London 2012.