England Women: Rachel Daly eyes regular starting spot with the Lionesses

By Jo CurrieBBC Sport
Rachel Daly (left)
Daly was part of the England squad that beat Serbia 7-0 home and away in the Euro 2017 qualifiers

Rachel Daly may have scored on her England debut but some supporters of the Lionesses may know relatively little about the striker.

However, she is already a familiar face to women's soccer fans in the USA.

Daly plays her club football for Houston Dash in the National Women's Super League, alongside the likes of Fifa Player of the Year Carli Lloyd.

And the 24-year-old now wants to make a name for herself on this side of the Atlantic, by becoming a regular in the England team.

"It's every kid's dream to play for their country, that's what you should work towards," she told BBC Sport.

Rising star Stateside

Carli Lloyd & Rachel Daly
Daly was voted the NWSL Player of the Week after scoring and setting up Carli Lloyd (left) in April

Daly, originally from Harrogate, started out as a left-back at Leeds United Ladies and also played play for Lincoln in the Women's Super League before moving five years ago to attend college in New York.

After converting to a striker and setting numerous goal-scoring records for St John's University, she became in January the first British player to ever earn a draft selection.

She was snapped up by Houston as the sixth pick, something Daly describes as "huge".

It didn't take her long to show why Dash wanted her, scoring and setting up another for Lloyd in their opening game of the season.

And Daly relishes lining up alongside the world's best player.

"At first it was like 'wow, you're the world player of the year' but once I started to play with her, I just got into a rhythm with her, For my own development and improvement, it's going to be massive with her around."

Famous fan

Sophie Bradley, Carly Telford, Rachel Daly, Jess Clarke
Daly was part of the Leeds United Ladies side who won the 2010 League Cup

Daly's impressive form was rewarded by England Women's manager Mark Sampson, when she was given her international debut in their Euro 2017 qualifier against Serbia.

Not only did the forward receive a good luck message from rock star Robbie Williams before the game, but she also scored in the 7-0 victory, a "massive" moment, she says.

"It's every kid's dream," she continued.

"To get my debut in front of a home crowd, in front of my family and to get a goal too is a dream come true for me".

Robbie Williams' Twitter page

Daly now says she's focused on becoming a consistent part of Sampson's plans.

"This is what I've worked hard for. I've concentrated on myself a lot over the last few years, in terms of my maturity levels, on and off the field," she said.

"I want to make a name for myself and be a regular, not just make up the numbers".

Whatever it takes

Rachel Daly
Daly has played in all six of Houston Dash's NWSL matches since joining in January

Daly says she is "loving" life in her first season at Houston and has no immediate plans to return to England, despite having offers from WSL clubs.

However, she admits that if playing her club football abroad ever affected her chances of another England call-up, then she would think about returning.

"If it was what was required of me, I'd definitely consider coming back. It's not that I'm set in the US, but I love my life out there," she said.

"But Mark is pretty good with me being overseas. He's keeps an eye on me, especially with the games being streamed now, so hopefully I can find a way of tying both in".

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