Tina Turner, emotional tribute, huge Leeds United hint – inside story of England hero's Euro 2022 final
Leeds United lover and England full back Rachel Daly says she always had faith in her Lionesses teammates.
Accumulating over 500 minutes over the course of the tournament, Daly was one of the eleven players which Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman selected to start the opener against Austria in a line up she didn’t once tweak on the road to Wembley.
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Under the arch on Sunday evening, the Houston Dash captain joined Lucy Bronze, Millie Bright and Leah Williamson to form the back four intent on keeping out eight-time European Champions Germany in the tournament’s grand finale.
After a second-half lead provided by Ella Toone set England on course to lift the trophy, Germany found an opening in Daly’s territory down the right flank to equalise in the 79th minute through Lina Magull and force extra time.
After six games, in which she covered 45km, made 29 ball recoveries and maintained a passing rate of more than 80%, Daly’s involvement in the tournament ended in the 88th minute as Wiegman replaced her with Manchester City defender Alex Greenwood.
She watched from the bench as substitute Chloe Kelly turned home an extra-time winner that will go down in English football history for ending the nation’s 56-year wait for a major trophy.
Amid the hysteria of the final whistle, Daly said she always knew that her side could bring football home.
"We won the Euros at Wembley? Can you believe it? I can, because I never doubted this team,” Daly said.
“I was a nervous wreck the whole time at the end. This place just erupted.
"Thank you so much everyone.”
After the euphoria of the trophy lift, Daly was photographed pointing at the sky in tribute to her father, Martyn, an Elland Road regular who passed away in September.
As England heroines donning sunglasses emerged bleary-eyed from their team hotel on Monday morning, Daly shared a photo of her biting her Euro 2022 medal, prompting a raft of congratulatory messages from across the country, including jokes from Leeds United fans who say the club, who are actively pursuing a left-back ahead of the new Premier League season, should secure Daly’s signature for the men’s side.
Whites chairman Andrea Radrizzani replied to say: ‘Congrats. Well Done Rachel.’
The Yorkshire lass’s answer, ‘Thank you so much! See you Saturday,’ suggests the Lioness might be making a special appearance at Elland Road, where her girlhood club Leeds will take on Wolverhampton Wanderers in the season opener.
On Monday afternoon, Daly led trophy celebrations in front of hundreds of fans at Trafalgar Square by kicking off a team karaoke session with her energetic rendition of Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High.