Erin Cuthbert: 'To reach the World Cup with Scotland would be incredible'

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland
Erin Cuthbert has scored six goals in 21 international appearances
Erin Cuthbert has scored six goals in 21 international appearances
Scotland Women v Switzerland Women
Venue: Simple Digital Arena, Paisley Date: Thursday, 30 August Kick-off: 19:35 BST
Coverage: Watch on BBC Alba & online, listen on Radio Scotland & online; text commentary on BBC Sport website & app

Watching Chelsea's double-winning women's team train at the fabulous Cobham training complex, there is a buzz of seemingly endless energy at the heart of all activity.

Diminutive yet powerful, cocky but eager to learn from her more experienced team-mates, Erin Cuthbert looks completely at home surrounded by international stars as they prepare to defend their titles.

But, while this 20-year-old from Irvine is desperate for more success, she is driven by a different motivation.

"All the work I do at Chelsea is for internationals, for when I go to Scotland," she tells BBC Scotland in the build-up to Thursday's crucial World Cup qualifier against Switzerland.

"To reach the World Cup would probably be the greatest achievement in my life.

"It's fine all the club honours, and even the Champions League, but to reach the World Cup with a small country like Scotland would be incredible, especially for the first time."

That is not an outlandish dream. Scotland lie three points behind group leaders Switzerland, with two games remaining.

A victory by two goals over the Swiss in Paisley would leave them top and needing to beat Albania away from home next week to guarantee a place at France 2019.

"We've got a big task," Cuthbert said. "We've given ourselves a lot to do, but it's in our hands, we control our fate - whether we go to the World Cup or not.

"The fact it's in our hands is a good position to be in and, in front of a home crowd, I think anything's possible."

In an age when international football often plays second fiddle to the club game, Cuthbert's passion for representing her country feels like a throwback to a time when there was no greater honour.

"It's an incredible feeling," she said. "To do it at a World Cup would be an unbelievable experience.

"I think I'd be talking about it for the rest of my life. To have your friends and family there would just be unreal.

"At the European Championship, I experienced what tournament football is like and I want more."

And, while Scotland's involvement at the 2017 Euros lifted the profile of the women's game in this country, Cuthbert believes reaching the World Cup would have an even greater impact.

"I think it would have a massive effect - you saw what it did for England after they got the bronze medal [in 2015]," she added.

"Participation increased, attendances increased. Scotland has the potential to really grasp this opportunity of getting to a World Cup in terms of media, sponsorship and participation."