17 Aug 2022 | 08:54 | Football
England’s Lauren Hemp doesn’t think she’s looking her best yet at Euro 2022, revealing that Lego and digital painting can help her relax during breaks.
The 21-year-old winger has started every game of the competition and scored her first Euro goal in Brighton’s 8-0 thrashing of Norway last week.
The Lionesses return to the south coast on Wednesday, where they face Spain in the quarter-finals, and Hemp says she has not yet reached the pinnacle of her power.
“It will take time,” she told a pre-Spain news conference. “It’s my first big game in England, it’s nerve-racking in front of so many fans, I’m not going to lie. It’s also consistency and that’s what I’m working on.
“Personally, I don’t think you’ve seen the best yet, it’s going to take time, it’s going to take a while. I’m still learning and I need to remember that I’m still young. I’m taking it all at my pace.
“I’ve got a great team around me, they’ve backed me up and they’ve played really well. It’s important that we continue to do this, everyone has gained confidence from recent games and it’s important that we bring it in quarter-finals.
“I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to play a big part in recent games. I’m grateful to be a part of this fantastic team.
“We also have such amazing depth that anyone can come in and change the game. You’ve seen that in recent games too… It’s important that we continue. I’m enjoying being here and loving being in so Big game, may this continue for a long time.”
The England team is based at the impressive Rensbury resort in south west London, and while there is plenty of focus and training, there is also plenty of rest time for the players to relax.
Hemp reveals some interesting pasts she uses to help keep herself busy.
“I like to keep myself busy, I like my legos, so I always do that in my room and paint by numbers, things like that are just to give me time because I don’t always like to sit Watching TV there, I like to play stuff.
“At the moment, I’m working on a typewriter [in Lego]. It was random, but I picked the first one I saw and sent it to Rensbury.
“I like to play table tennis and stuff like that…I don’t like to think too much about the game, as a player I like to keep it simple. As soon as the game day comes, I will focus.”
“Anything can happen in the knockout stage and if we need a penalty it’s important that we’re ready.
“We’ve been practicing to make sure we’re ready. It’s not just something that started recently, it’s something we’ve been doing throughout the tournament and before.
“We’re trying to replicate it [a game situation] As much as possible, the staff excels at this, looking for different strategies to ensure we are the most prepared team.
“All of us have been through penalty shootouts before, so we’re a very experienced team and have been involved in those pressure situations.
“We all know what that’s like and have been under pressure, so hopefully when it comes, we won’t be nervous about accepting them.”
Spain will not present a huge new challenge for England. They drew 0-0 in the Arnold Clark Cup earlier this year and Hemp became the Lioness’ star.
However, the winger believes she has come a long way since the February match, and while Spain will be a tough challenge, the Lionesses are ready.
“I’ve grown tremendously [since the Arnold Clark Cup game]. A lot of it was done under the direction of Sarina and Arjen [Veurink] and back to Manchester City,” she said.
“I’ve learned a lot as a player over the past few months and it’s only helped me grow. You’ve got a lot to learn from that game to now – even though it was a friendly, You’re under pressure there. And there’s something we can bring in euros, so it’s nice to have it.
“I’ve been through huge crowds, for example in the FA Cup final, with huge crowds of fans coming to support and it’s fantastic. It just helps them get into a stressful environment, which helps calm the nerves and enjoy football.
“Spain will be great, I have a lot of respect for them and so is the team. They will be a great team, playing possession-based football. We are ready for that, we have done everything that is needed Preparation.
“There are a lot of girls who will be at Manchester City next season, people I will also get to know, and people we have played against before. We know what they are like and we will make sure we are the best prepared team going into the game.
“We know they have a lot of threats, but we also know there’s an opportunity to exploit and we’ll definitely try to do that.
“I’ve watched a couple of their games throughout the tournament and they’re a great team, but we know that today, we can beat anyone and that’s what we’re going to make sure we do.”
It wasn’t the most traditional preparation for the quarter-finals of the European Championships for England. With record-breaking heat across the UK, the team is still without manager Salina Wegman, who remains isolated due to Covid-19.
“It’s too hot for me,” she said. “We got up early this morning to finish training because it was so hot and it was only going to get hotter.
“It’s important to finish these classes and try not to get too hot. It’s really a nightmare but it’s great to be in the sun because when are we getting the sun but they could have chosen a better time .
“The heat is a contributing factor. It’s not great, but it’s out of our control. It’s important that we stick to our jobs and don’t stay out in the sun for too long.
“It’s not good for the skin, you get tired easily. It’s one of those things, you have to keep going as usual. We train early just to make sure we don’t suffer too much.
“It’s not the same anymore [without Sarina]. Covid is still here and it’s a frustrating thing. Unfortunately, she got it, but we practiced for a long time to deal with these scenarios and what to expect. She still participates in meetings remotely, so it’s nice to have that.
“We still have an amazing team of technicians that has been supporting us. To be honest, it feels no different, she’s still there, supporting us remotely and in person, she’s still supporting us.”
Keep up with all the latest Euro 2022 news on Sky Sports and Sky Sports News this summer.
Reporting will be moderated by Sky Sports WSL host Caroline Barker along with Jessica Creighton and Kyle Walker. Meanwhile, Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett will be analysing throughout the game.
They will also be joined by veteran England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and Manchester City defender Esme Morgan.
The pundits and presenters will work on the Sky Sports Women’s Euro 2022 mobile demo bus, which will follow the Sky Sports News team across the country to the various stadiums where matches are being played.
Additionally, from June 21st, Sky Sports’ Essential Football Podcast will be renamed the Sky Sports Women’s Euros Podcast. Hosted by Charlotte Marsh and Anton Toloui, it will feature exclusive news and player interviews in addition to a strong lineup of programming around the tournament.
Wednesday 20 July
Quarterfinals 1: England v Spain – Kick-off 8pm, Brighton & Hove Community Stadium
Thursday 21 July
Quarterfinals 2: Germany v Austria – Kick-off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Friday 22 July
Quarterfinals 3: Sweden v Belgium – Kick-off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village
Saturday 23 July
Quarterfinals 4: France v Netherlands – Kick-off at 8pm, New York Stadium
Tuesday 26 July
Semifinals 1: Winners Quarterfinals 1 v Winners Quarterfinals 3 – Kick-off 8pm, Bramall Lane
Wednesday 27 July
Semifinals 2: Winner Quarterfinals 2 v Winners Quarterfinals 4 – Kick-off 8pm, MK Stadium
Sunday 31 July
Winner Semi-Final 1 v Winner Semi-Final 2 – Kick-off 5pm, Wembley
Wednesday, July 6
Group A: England 1-0 Austria
Thursday, July 7
Group A: Norway 4-1 Northern Ireland
Friday, July 8
Group B: Spain 4-1 Finland
Group B: Germany 4-0 Denmark
Saturday, July 9
Group C: Portugal 2-2 Switzerland
Group C: Netherlands 1-1 Sweden
Sunday, July 10
Group D: Belgium 1-1 Iceland
Group D: France 5-1 Italy
Monday 11 July
Group A: Austria 2-0 Northern Ireland
Group A: England 8-0 Norway
Tuesday 12 July
Group B: Denmark 1-0 Finland
Group B: Germany 2-0 Spain
Wednesday 13 July
Group C: Sweden 2-1 Switzerland
Group C: Netherlands 3-2 Portugal
Thursday 14 July
Group D: Italy 1-1 Iceland
Group D: France 2-1 Belgium
Friday 15 July
Group A: Northern Ireland 0-5 England
Group A: Austria 1-0 Norway
Saturday 16 July
Group B: Finland 0-3 Germany
Group B: Denmark 0-1 Spain
Sunday 17 July
Group C: Switzerland 1-4 Netherlands
Group C: Sweden 5-0 Portugal
Monday 18 July
Group D: Iceland 1-1 France
Group D: Italy 0-1 Belgium