Everton keeper MacIver relishing competition for England starting spot

SANDY MACIVER is enjoying the battle to be England’s first-choice stopper after being tipped for the top by Everton boss Willie Kirk.  

And the Toffees ace hailed the influence of Carly Telford and Karen Bardsley ahead of the Lionesses' match against Northern Ireland. 

MacIver is one of a trio of top-flight keepers included in interim head coach Hege Riise’s England squad. 

And at 22 the Everton player is the oldest of the three who include Man City starlet Ellie Roebuck, and Birmingham's Hannah Hampton, both 21. 

MacIver said: “To be able to push myself alongside two really good goalkeepers in Ellie and Hannah just shows the strength of the group and I think the three of us pushing on now is only going to help us.

“They have had different experiences from what I've had and I think together we'll be able to support each other and push each other on.  

“Ultimately at the end of the day, whoever plays in any game is always going to have the support of the other two."

MacIver knows she is facing stiff competition from her top-flight rivals.

Like Hampton, the Everton ace has kept four clean sheets in the league so far this term, with Golden Gloves winner Roebuck racking up five. 

And the Winsford-born keeper believes her experience of competing with Toffees team-mate Tinja-Riika Korpela has been beneficial in preparing her push for an England spot. 

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MacIver added: “I'm very fortunate that at Everton I work with Tinja-Riikka Korpela who is a very experienced goalkeeper who has played at Bayern Munich and many caps for Finland. 

"When you're able to go into training each day and really know you have to put 100 or 110 per cent into everything you do, there's no room for slack.

“When you then go away into a national team environment, there's no having to make a step up. 

“And I think with the current situation with the goalkeepers for England, everyone has got just as good a chance as everyone else, and I think when you see there is a number one shirt up for grabs, it does make things more exciting.” 

MacIver, who carried the Olympic torch in Chester ahead of the London 2012 games, is eyeing this month’s England training camp as a chance to stake her claim for a Team GB spot. 

It will be the second time in history that Britain’s team will take a women’s football squad to the games with the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to take place this year. 

And MacIver believes her experience of learning from the likes of Chelsea veteran Carly Telford and Man City ace Karen Bardsley has been vital for her development. 

The Everton stopper added: “I remember my first (England) camp, about two years ago I was at SheBelieves as a training player, and being able to train every day with the likes of Karen (Bardsley) and Carly (Telford), you just learn so much. 

“They in themselves are such supportive people that they are willing to help you, and to be able to fire questions away to them was really beneficial in kind of starting my journey in the England squad.

“And I think the chance of going to an Olympics is huge.

“For it to come around every once in four years, just shows how special an occasion it is, and to be able to go to an event like that would be incredible.”

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