It says so much about the competitive intensity that all novice soccer coaches remember Georgia Stanway catching an 11-pound carp on only her second attempt at fishing.
She had spent a fair amount of time watching her boyfriend, Toulouse professional rugby league player Ole Achal-Boute recede, when the idea of trying her hand during the pandemic’s first lockdown came up.
Ashall-Bott expected some riverside messing during one of their night fishing trips, which saw them camping near the house they bought in Widnes, Cheshire. Stanway had different ideas.
Stanway to Heaven: Georgia’s astonishing extra-time goal took England past Spain to reach the UEFA European Championship semi-finals
Stanway celebrates with England coach Sarina Wegman after England beat Spain
I ran into someone who was selling fishing gear – top of the range, at a very good price – and he couldn’t resist. Then the carp landed, making Ashall-Bott’s accomplishments look visibly modest. “Literally the second time Georgia goes out she catches the biggest fish ever!” Regard. ‘thats it! She is very competitive in everything she does.
It didn’t stop there. The two met the English carp fishing team, and Stanway seems to be very eager to learn more techniques. She and Ashal Pot caught 12 fish between them on that occasion, while the national team hit 100.
Ashall-Bott, whose injury-turbulent career finally kicked off with a move to France, reveals that recreational sports are a strange concept when you have Stanway as your partner. She often excels at her ping-pong games, which combine soccer and table tennis on a curved table, in the back garden. Golf is the only sport you haven’t mastered yet.
Stanway has sealed off a tense and tough competition in Brighton with her 96-minute chauffeur
Ashal Butt described his girlfriend as a “champion” after her winning goal on Wednesday night
The football coaches who have known Stanway since she was a teenager attribute much of her success – including the extra-time goal against Spain that led England to Tuesday night’s Euro semi-final against Sweden in Sheffield – to the same sentiment.
The 23-year-old and her England teammates Keira Walsh and Ella Tone are all products of Blackburn Rovers Academy. All three ran out as teenagers in the club’s first team, although Stanway was most likely to return the favor if the opposition tried to intimidate.
“When other players try to kick them, they can never get a reaction,” says Gemma Donnelly, manager of Blackburn Ladies, who worked with the three. But Georgia may be a little less than that. She has this persistence. I have eliminated her.
Stanway and her boyfriend, rugby league player Ole Ashal Putt, and their catch today
Stanway has fished during the Covid lockdowns and is now using the pastime to relax
Her stature, 5 feet 4 inches, contributes to that. Donnelly says, “It has been expanded with all the strength and conditioning training. “But she was one of our youngest, and what she lacked in size, she made up for by using her body well.”
Another former Blackburn coach at Stanway, Amanda Goodwin, who is now an FA regional talent coach, described Stanway’s hand severely swollen after standing during an under-13 game. She was reluctant to go out.
Donnelly recalls Blackburn’s youth team at Stanway needing to beat Everton to beat Manchester United for the title, at Liverpool University’s Wincott Stadium.
“She took it upon herself to lead through their defense, through the channels, through the middle,” she recalls. I played that game. She lost count of her shots. I don’t know how the ball did not enter.
Stanway and Ashal Butt have been out since 2018, after he sent her an Instagram DM
All of Blackburn’s youth coaches remember the four-hour round trip necessitated by Monday and Wednesday night practice sessions at Blackburn for Stanway, who sought an exemption to leave school early, traveling from Barrow in Cumbria.
Blackburn was not the richest club. Stanway used to play matches at home on elevated rented grounds at Blacksnip Stadiums, in keeping with the landmark Darwin Tower, 85 feet above sea level. “It snowed in the summer!” Connelly. “Georgia and the others outside were putting up nets, knocking them down again or getting corner flags. We haven’t had the most amazing resources. That’s why there’s no sense of entitlement.
Stanway was 16 years old when she joined Manchester City in July 2015. She and Ashal Putt became acquainted through mutual friends when she responded to his Instagram request to meet, four years ago.
Picture of Ashal Butt when he was a Huddersfield Giants player – has since moved to Toulouse
Stanway is Manchester City’s all-time leading scorer and has won a string of major trophies
With Toulouse currently in the midst of a desperate battle for relegation in the Premier League, they have not attended their Euro games, although they FaceTime from their changing rooms every time they compete.
Ashal Pott, who was on the couch with Milo, the couple’s dog, when Stanway scored against Spain, didn’t see the scoring opportunity she had hunchled. “I was yelling on TV to ask Georgia to pass – yelling ‘Pass the ball!'” – But then she hit him, ”he says. Then my phone went crazy. And I went crazy. The dog ran away because he thought I was yelling at him! “
The 24-year-old will seek permission from Toulouse coach Sylvain Hollis to be at Wembley, should the England team reach the final on Sunday. His team plays in Hull on Friday. “What a year it will be for us,” he says, “They won the Euro and we stay in the Premier League.”
They have rented the house they bought in Widnes, where Stanway plays for Bayern Munich next season.
Ashall-Bott was already looking for flights from Toulouse. But above all that, there is the small matter of England competing in the Women’s World Championships, at home in Oxfordshire, late next month.
Miles in that national team? Her boyfriend won’t get over her.