TAUNTON footballer Emily Syme has her sights set on helping England qualify for the Uefa European Women’s Under-19 Championship, after gaining further experience at the La Manga tournament this month.

Having stepped up from Under-18 level this season, the trip to Spain was her second meet-up with the U19 squad; she has been selected four times but twice missed out due to injury.

Syme was an unused substitute as England lost 2-1 to hosts Spain, but she started the 5-1 win over China and the 2-0 loss to Switzerland.

She told the County Gazette: “Both games [against China and Switzerland at La Manga] were great experiences for me.

“Before China I’d never played a team from outside Europe before, while Switzerland are a European team we’re likely to face again in the future.”

Syme showed her versatility in switching between the No 8 and No 10 attacking midfield roles, adding: “In the Switzerland game I was a number eight, but with licence to drift between the two roles [8 and 10].

“I enjoy both, and being involved in all the team’s attacking play.”

The games in La Manga were preparation for the European U19 elite round, with England drawn to play Italy, Sweden and Turkey at St George’s Park from April 3-9.

Should England win the group, they will progress to join hosts Scotland at the finals (July 16-28), which will act as Uefa’s qualifier for the Fifa U20 Women’s World Cup in 2020.

Syme said of the squad: “There’s a wide mix of players – Women’s Super League, Championship and some at university in America.

“We all got on well in the camp, and I think we built a strong connection ahead of the Euros [qualifiers] in three weeks.

“It’ll be really good to play at home, and have my family come down, and a few supporters.

“I really like Rehanne [Skinner, England U19 manager], as she’s direct and clear about what we want to achieve – qualification for the World Cup in 2020.”

Before that, Syme returns to club duty with Yeovil Town Ladies, who are battling to avoid relegation from the FA Women’s League, the top flight of English women’s football.

Syme’s first season of full-time football has been disrupted by a couple of injuries, but she says she has still had a positive experience.

“I’ve enjoyed training every day and seeing the improvement in my performance.

“I hope it will be the start of a long career [in football].

“[The injuries] have been frustrating, the timing has not been ideal with England Under-19 squads, but I’ve learned a lot when out injured and doing rehab, as you take a step back and watch others.

“I knew how much I loved playing football because I missed it so much."

Tonight brings a pivotal game for Yeovil, at home to Brighton & Hove Albion at Dorchester Town FC (ko 7.45pm), where a win would give their survival hopes a real shot in the arm.

"It's a massive game for us, and we want something from it," Syme said.

"We've had tight games against Brighton this season, even the Continental Cup match was closer than it looks from the result [4-1 to Brighton].

“I want to be out there, show what I’m about and prove myself.”

Syme is undecided on her next step, as she looks to study at university, but one thing is clear: her footballing story is only just beginning.