From North Walsham to Manchester City - Lauren Hemp is flying ahead of facing Ipswich Town in the FA Cup
PUBLISHED: 14:38 13 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:38 13 February 2020
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Former Norwich City Ladies' starlet Lauren Hemp is thriving at Manchester City as she gears up for her own slice of East Anglian derby action on Sunday when the Citizens host Ipswich Town's women in the FA Cup fifth round.
Hemp scored at Wembley Stadium in the 2019 FA Cup final and is hoping for more glory with City's women, after penning a new multi-year deal with the club in December.
"These are the games you want to play in," she declared. "Hopefully, it won't take too long to have moments like Wembley again. I'll never forget that moment.
"I try to soak everything in. I was watching the players out there in the FA Cup final on the bench, thinking: 'I want to be there in future competitions.'
"Having that moment makes me hungry for more. I'm still young but I've had a few setbacks in the past with injuries too, which makes me want it even more - being in the starting XI, pushing on to become the best version of myself.
"There's a long way to go but I'm getting there. I'm gaining confidence by playing regularly and I hope to keep feeding my team-mates for them to score or try to score myself.
"They've told me just to keep doing what I'm doing and to be confident on the ball. One of my attributes is to run at players, beating them and creating chances.
"They're encouraging me to keep working at that and if I make a mistake, to keep going, trying to get the best out of myself.
"We all have to train hard and work our hardest for the fans. I'm hoping to improve each week so I can be playing in Finals at Wembley and lifting cups."
The 19-year-old - PFA Women's young player-of-the-year in 2017-18 - has been employed on the left flank this season as she bids to help fire City to a league and FA Cup double.
Her performances have seen her shortlisted for January's PFA Women's Super League player-of-the-month award, having become a regular name in the starting XI and earning her first senior call-up to England Lionesses' side.
The former North Walsham high school pupil scored the winner in last weekend's crucial 2-1 win for the leaders over Arsenal and will be hoping to face Ipswich Town.
"I'm really enjoying playing on the wing," the 19-year-old told City's official website. "It gives me a chance to be free - taking people on, playing one- or two-touch passes, getting around people, putting crosses in, scoring goals… showing people what I can do.
"Playing for City, I've improved to become a better player, developing to get to where I am now with frequent game time and senior England call-ups.
"I've improved technically, playing through the grass, practicing pinpoint crossing and shooting. I've learnt to focus on my passing - not just my touch - and thinking about things I hadn't previously thought about.
"I'm coming up against really good defenders. I'm hoping to show them they won't have an easy go at it."