Women's Football

Poppy Pattinson on Everton's ambitions, team spirit & FA Cup final journey

Ali Rampling
Poppy Pattinson revealed to 90min that Everton share her high ambitions
Poppy Pattinson revealed to 90min that Everton share her high ambitions / Alex Davidson/Getty Images

2020 saw the footballing world descend into chaos.

In February, Poppy Pattinson lined up for Bristol City as the Robins suffered a 5-0 loss to Everton in the FA Cup, ending her side's journey in the 2019/20 competition at the fifth round stage.

Fast forward eight and a half months, and Pattinson was coming on at Wembley for Everton in the 2019/20 FA Cup final.

"It's absolutely crazy," Pattinson tells 90min. "I think that probably just sums up everything that's going on in the world at the moment. Obviously it was an amazing opportunity and to play at Wembley is every English footballer's dream. To get to do that was honestly amazing."

The FA Cup had been delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and when Pattinson swapped Bristol for Everton in the summer, she was permitted to be registered for the final stages of the competition.

The Toffees recorded a famous quarter final win over Chelsea at Goodison Park - the only defeat Emma Hayes' side would suffer in the whole of 2020 - and after getting the better of Birmingham, they faced the defending champions Manchester City in the final.

Everton went toe to toe with favourites City for 90 minutes and took their illustrious opponents to extra time. They ultimately suffered a 3-1 loss, but reaching a major final coupled with their recruitment over the past year is a sign of the soaring ambitions for the Merseyside club.

"Obviously it wasn't meant to be but we felt like we had a good game, it wasn't an easy push over for them," Pattinson adds. "Gutted we couldn't bring the trophy home with us but that is one of our aims going forward to get to that final again and this time win it.

"Everton have got huge aims across all teams. Especially the women's which attracted me, we've got big goals this season."

Everton's ambitions are matched by that of Pattinson's. The left back moved from Sunderland to Manchester City as a 17-year-old, balancing training, playing, studying three A Levels and the 130-mile commute from Durham to Manchester.

"I just took it as that was what I had to do," Pattinson says matter-of-factly. "Being in the north east the opportunities were quite limited, and there's no club up there for women's football that really stood out.

Pattinson has represented England at Under-21 level
Pattinson has represented England at Under-21 level / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

"I just thought if I wanted to be the player I'd always aspired to be I had to take the step out of my comfort zone and do that travelling."

After a season at City, Pattinson left the north behind her and signed her first professional contract at Bristol City in 2018. The club were keen to keep her beyond her two-year stay, but she was eager to make the step up and join an ever progressing Everton side in the summer of 2020.

The 20-year-old is a number of new recruits to have moved to Merseyside over the last 12 months, including Champions League winner Izzy Christiansen, Australian international Hayley Raso and Norwegian international Ingrid Moe Wold.

Despite such an influx of new players from across the globe, the Toffees have clicked instantly and enjoyed a lightning quick start to the 2020/21 season - which Pattinson puts down to their team spirit.

"It's a great squad and coming in I've been so welcomed," she enthuses. "Everyday coming to training I just love it.

"We've got so many different nationalities it's a bit crazy when everyone starts speaking between their own languages, it's a bit like what's going on? We all get on great, it's a great set of girls and obviously that portrays on the pitch with some of the results we've been getting."

Pattinson has also progressed through the England youth levels, and given her relentless ambition, she is unsurprisingly targeting a senior call up in the future.

Even when asked what she'd be doing if she wasn't a footballer, Pattinson's casually high aspirations shine through. She replies something in fashion - "maybe setting my own brand up or something - aim high!"