It’s been a fantastic season so far for Gills youngster Lauren Davis. In her first full season of senior women’s football, the sixteen year old Gillingham Centre of Excellence graduate has excelled at the challenges thrown her way in the women’s game.
Following a very mature performance against Nottingham Forest on Sunday, we caught up with Lauren to see how she enjoyed gaining more valuable experience in the Women’s FA Cup tie.
“I am absolutely over the moon with the result and buzzing for the next round against either Preston North or Yeovil” said Lauren.
“In the game we had more chances than the other team, some which we should have put away but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. We played well as a team and weren’t afraid to get dirty which was a good thing considering the conditions of the pitch!”
“In terms of my own performance I would say that I contributed with some good crosses and tackles but some of my decisions during the game were wrong which will I need to think about more for the next game.”
Always keen to learn, Lauren is building upon her game and in recent weeks has dropped back into a more defensive role, drawing out yet another side of her game.
“I use to play as a winger” Lauren explained, “Now I have dropped back into a wing back position. This came about when we were very unfortunate that one of our solid defenders, Amy Taylor, when she got injured. As a result, we had to make some changes to try and adjust to Amy T not being there as part of the defence.”
And whilst the circumstances leading to this change were far from ideal, Lauren has proven to rise to the challenge, pulling out some fantastic performances in the right back role against both Nottingham Forest and Millwall Lionesses.
“I really enjoy playing in this new position” Lauren revealed, “It enables me to go forward, drive and do everything I was able to before, with linked up and getting crosses into the box for the forwards.”
“It also gives me a chance to show a defensive side which is where my footballing days all started when I was ten. But where this position is still new to me at this level, it’s great to be playing next to Rachel and Deanna who are always there giving you confidence or little pointers of maybe what to do, and knowing that Faye is there behind me gives me even more confidence.”
It was a good weekend for Lauren and all her team-mates who enjoyed travelling up to the game and staying overnight. The chance to spend some time and relax before the game proved to be of great benefit. Lauren certainly enjoyed the away day.
“The experience of going away with the girls is never the same, there is never a dull moment or a chance to become bored as someone is always up to something! And when the Gills go away the banter is flying – Happy Birthday Diesel!!”
“I guess being young and going away with the team, most people might think it would be quite hard, but it really isn’t as the girls are always there checking you’re ok and you just forget you’re the youngest as we are so close as a team you just fee l the same.”
Lauren added: “Playing in the FA cup is every footballer’s dream and to be able to say that I played 90 minutes in a round is unbelievable, as I could still be in the Centre of Excellence. To have this opportunity to play in the FA Cup now and the team I’m in is just unreal to be honest and for that I have to thank the manager Crouch for giving me this chance and believing in me making me the player I am today.”
Reflecting further on the weekend and most importantly the 1-0 victory against Nottingham Forest, Lauren revealed the mood in the changing room is buoyant and focused.
“The win meant a lot to the girls, especially those who played in the cup last year as it gave them and the team a chance to rewrite what happened last year against Nottingham.”
“Everybody is over the moon to be in the next round of the FA Cup and relieved to finally get a game played after all of the bad weather we have been having. All of us take one game at a time and we will continue to work hard in preparation for our next game so that we can keep these performances up.”
Finally, Lauren added;
“I would just like to finish by thanking all of the girls, James and Jack for giving me this opportunity to play in this fantastic team and all their support.”