There’s no denying that it has been quite a year for Watford Ladies star Fliss Gibbons.
After enjoying a successful first season with the Golden Girls and helping them to runners-up spot in the FAWPL, Gibbons earned a call-up to play for England U19 in the U19 European Championships in Wales, in which England finished as runners-up.
She was also awarded the club Players’ Player Of The Year award, before making the decision to join Gillingham on loan during the transition between the winter FAWPL and the summer FAWSL seasons.
Gibbons has been among the goals at her new temporary club and her displays have seen her receive a call-up to the England U23 squad who met up for a camp at St George’s Park last week.
The Watford Ladies FC website caught up with Gibbons to find out all about it.
She admits that going on loan wasn’t a decision she took lightly, but she believes now that it was the right choice for her and she believes it will see Watford take back a fitter player.
“I’m really loving being at Gillingham, I was a bit unsure about going on loan at first but after my first session with Gills I knew it was the right decision for me,” she said.
“It’s a great club with a brilliant set up. The coaches and girls are fantastic and I know it’s the right place for me to be right now.
“With the quality the players have, individually and collectively, and the knowledge the management bring, I have no doubt I’ll be a fitter and better player come Christmas time.”
Gibbons says that one of the major factors that made her choose to go on loan was trying to keep up with the rest of the squad’s fitness.
“To be honest, I had really missed playing football. I do a lot of training on my own but there’s nothing quite like match fitness and I think training with a team and getting match minutes are the best way to keep yourself in shape,” she said.
“I know the reserves and development team have been working really hard in training and I wanted to make sure I would be keeping up with them.”
Gibbons cannot deny, however, that she is looking ahead to the WSL season with a lot of excitement.
“Like everyone I’m really excited about the start of the WSL2,” she said. “I think the standard of football will be a bit higher this year with teams training harder and more frequently and with promotion up for grabs. It’ll be a really competitive league.
“All we can really do for now is put the hard work and commitment in which I know everyone is doing.
“I know a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes which I know we’ll benefit from when the season starts, I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
Her excellent performances have seen Gibbons gain international recognition but she has not taken this for granted.
“Being in Wales with the U19s was a great experience, especially coming off the back of such a great season with Watford.
“The whole experience hasn’t really sunk in yet. There isn’t anything specific that stands out from the tournament as I loved everything about the Euros, but getting to the final and coming home with a silver medal is something that I will always remember.
“The whole experience was so valuable.”
She now feels she is in a better position to try and push on in the older England squad, and added: “I have to admit I was surprised (by the U23 call-up) but it’s another motivation for me to work hard, get better, get fitter and learn more.
“I always learn and improve when I am with the England squad and this is another opportunity for me to keep improving.”