Chelsea and Scotland star Erin Cuthbert admits that the repeated failures of last season left her ‘scared’ of returning to the field.
The 21-year-old has played well beyond her years since signing for the Blues back in 2017 and already has WSL and FA Cup titles locked away in cabinet.
But a trophyless campaign saw Emma Hayes’ side relinquish the WSL crown to Arsenal as well as being defeated in three semi-finals, including a Champions League exit to eventual winners Lyon.
Cuthbert looked to be on the brink of offsetting her domestic disappointment by making it to the World Cup knockout stages with Scotland but an incredible three-goal comeback from Argentina saw them crash out in the group stages.
Never one to let her emotions get the better of her, Cuthbert admitted that behind closed doors the devastation ran deep and was enough to give her the jitters about coming back this season.
“I was genuinely scared of getting back into football a few months ago because of how bad last season was,” said Cuthbert.
“After the summer I had to look at myself in the mirror and regroup a little bit because the World Cup hurt me – I needed to get over that.
“Now that I have been able to do that, it has only served to fuel my fire.
“I came so close to success with Scotland and Chelsea and it ended up being a season of ‘what ifs’ but once I got back to training, I couldn’t wait to get started again.”
Can’t put last night into words, but my heart is so full of pride for this amazing team. Thank you to everyone who followed us on this magical journey right from the very first game of the qualifying campaign, who would’ve this little country would come so far? SCOTLAND 💙💙🏴🏴 pic.twitter.com/9h08mN37c4— Erin Cuthbert (@erincuthbert_) June 20, 2019
Cuthbert recovered from an injury that kept her out of Scotland’s Euro 2021 qualifying opener against Cyprus, an 8-0 win, to come off the bench for the final 20 minutes as Chelsea hosted newly-promoted Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge.
Hayes’ side got the ball rolling with a 1-0 win in front of almost 25,000 fans and it’s the desire to keep playing on the big stages that is fuelling Cuthbert now.
“Experiences like going to a World Cup only help you so much because as a young player you can play without fear and without holding back,” said the young Scot.
“But once you have been there your focus changes slightly because you want more and more – like an addiction – you start to crave the big occasions and the bigger crowds.”
Cuthbert is acutely aware that the higher attendances and increased popularity of her sport will open the door for more scrutiny but is already showing the type of maturity off the field to match her ability and accomplishments on it.
“You have to try and separate your duties as a footballer and conduct yourself in a way that is professional because we are role models now,” she added.
“Everything that comes out of our mouths will be judged in some way or another now and we have to be conscious of the example we are setting especially to younger people.
“I tried to keep my cool after the disappointment of going out of the World Cup - it was a horrible experience of course, but there is always a bigger picture
“I have so many more experiences to come and I will never take that for granted.”
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