Lauren Hemp has admitted that the best is yet to come from her at Euro 2022 as England prepare for their quarter final meeting with Spain, having sailed through the knockout stages as group winners.
Hemp was billed as England’s biggest threat ahead of the European Championships on home soil after establishing herself as one of the WSL’s most exciting players over the last four years and shining at the Olympics last summer.
The 21-year-old started all three of the Lionesses group matches, and having been kept relatively quiet by the impressive Laura Wienroither against Austria in her side’s opener at Old Trafford, she excelled as Norway were put to the sword in a stunning 8-0 victory.
“I think it takes time, obviously it’s my first major tournament with England as well in front of so many fans, it’s nerve wracking, I’m not going to lie,” Hemp said.
“I think just being consistent is something that I’m striving towards and personally I don’t think you’ve seen the best yet but there’s still time. Obviously it’s going to take a while, and I still need to remember I’m so young and I’m still learning every day. I’m taking it all in my stride really.”
Hemp is renowned for her trademark slalom runs down the left flank, and part of the reason she was not as devastatingly destructive against Austria and Northern Ireland as she has been in previous outings for club and country was because she frequently found herself doubled up against by the opposition.
This has freed up space elsewhere on the pitch – which the likes of Beth Mead and Alessia Russo have been able to capitalise on to great affect – and Hemp admitted being double marked was something she was going to have to become accustomed to.
“It’s a different experience, it’s something I haven’t necessarily come up against before, where teams have tried to put a couple of players on you,” she added. “It’s nice to have that but it also means there’s space somewhere else; if it’s not for me it means someone else is free as well.
“I want to do a job for the team, and whether that’s creating space for other people to get on the ball then that’s just as important for me. It’s something I’m getting used to and I think I need to get used to it because it’s probably going to come about in the future as well.
“It’s important I stick to what I’m doing and find different ways of getting past players, whether that’s using other people or creating space for others as well.”