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Women's Football News
One game into Everton Ladies' season and Claudia Walker already has a hat-trick to her name and some new silverware on her mantlepiece.
But after being crowned the SSE Women's FA Cup player of the third round, the attacker admits she has her sights set on even more silverware come the end of the campaign.
Walker netted a hat-trick in a comprehensive 8-1 win for Everton on 5th February against Brighouse Town to earn herself the player gong. Walker insists the prestige of the SSE Women's FA Cup is unparalleled as she bids to get Everton's hands back on the title after they last topped the pile in 2010.
"I'm very happy with the award," Walker said. "It's a lovely way to kick off the season; it was our first competitive game and a really good start.
"Everyone wants to win the FA Cup. It's the competition that everyone strives for at some point throughout their career. You want your name on that cup.
"You want that medal - it's such a big competition for us, and hopefully we can get as far as we can.
"Everton have done well before, and that's a great motivator for us to look back on those players and staff that have won it and think we can do it too.
"The SSE Women's FA Cup is also such a big opportunity for us in terms of increasing the awareness of the women's game."
Walker is enjoying her new role as a central striker in a front three, having been moved in off the wing, and her improved form last season has earned a call-up to the England Under-23 side. The former Stoke City youngster is in her third year at Everton, having made the short trip across Merseyside after two years at Liverpool - the team she supports. But there is no lingering loyalty to the Reds, and the striker said she is delighted to be thriving in the blue of Everton, and is hoping for more success for herself and her team-mates as the season progresses.
"I love it here," she added. "It's a great club and it doesn't put me off that I support Liverpool, so long as Everton aren't playing Liverpool, I'll support them!
"Last season, I probably improved loads more than I expected. I was playing centre forward rather than being out on the wing, I adapted to that and I think it improved my play.
"I was selected for the England under-23s, which was great. If I can continue my form then getting back in the international set-up will be one of my aims this year."
Tickets are now on sale for the SSE Women's FA Cup Final on Saturday 13th May at Wembley Stadium connected by EE. For the second consecutive year, kids go free to the final, tickets can be purchased here: https://ticketing.thefa.com/
by Jimmy Booker, Sportsbeat
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