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FA chief executive Adam Crozier
"We all feel the standard of play is improving."
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banner Wednesday, 6 June, 2001, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Banks wins top goalscorer award
BBC Sport's Sue Thearle
Sue Thearle was at the FA Women's Football Awards lunch in London this week and caught up with one of the stars of the season for Arsenal and England, Angela Banks.

Friday was the traditional end of season knees up for the women's game at the Savoy Hotel in London.

The FA Women's Football Awards sponsored by AXA brought together the great and the good of the women's game with the awards handed out over a pleasant lunch.

It was terrific turnout with sports minister Kate Hoey among the special guests.


This is fantastic for me - I just wanted to score as many goals as I could for Arsenal this season but it's gone brilliantly
  Angela Banks

And Hope Powell's England squad were there - accepting the best wishes of the women's game as they finalise their preparations ahead of the European Championships.

Fresh from their 1-0 victory over Scotland, 4 of the squad were award winners.

Mo Marley received a Special Achievement Award for her services to the game.

Tranmere winger Sue Smith was named International Player of the Year for the second time in three years.

Katie Chapman picked up a second Young Player of the Year award and Angela Banks was top goalscorer for the Women's Premier League.

Banks has certainly been in a rich vein of form this season.

Prolific

With 29 goals for Arsenal, including the winner in the FA Cup Final, she was also on a high after scoring the winner against Scotland.

So not surprisingly the former Whitehawk striker was in fine fettle.

"This is fantastic for me. I just wanted to score as many goals as I could for Arsenal this season but it's gone brilliantly.

"I've got a great team around me and playing alongside Marieanne (Spacey) has been terrific.

"It was a big step up from Division One to the National Division and making the transition to international football is another level again, but I'm so glad I gave myself the chance."

Banks still lives in Brighton but was lured to London two years ago by the prospect of improving her game at Arsenal.

She's now employed by the Gunners as a Community officer and that has given her the
Angela Banks celebrates scoring for England
Banks hit England's winner against Scotland
platform to develop her career and become one of England's most potent weapons.

She's got enormous potential but at the moment she's still struggling to take it all in.

"I'm not confident even though I've won what I have. I still feel I could improve and physically I want to be stronger.

"I haven't got a lot of experience at international level but I'm learning all the time.

"I've only got nine caps and I want to build on that and continue to perform for Arsenal," she explained.

Any mention of England leads invariably to talk of the European Championships in Germany later this month.

Banks, like all of the England players on show, refused to accept that her place in the squad was guaranteed.

But she reflected the mood in the squad as the build-up reaches critical point.

"All of the players feel that a semi-final place is possible. People shouldn't think that we're just there to make up the numbers and we certainly don't want to go there and lose.

"A lot of the teams there might under-estimate us and that could work in our favour.

"But we know it's in our hands really and if we can just win games 1-0 that would be great. After all a win is a win."

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See also:

10 Mar 01 |  BBC Pundits
England's Euro 2001 challenge
08 Mar 01 |  Football
Powell predicts tough Euro task
17 Mar 01 |  BBC Pundits
Crozier backing women's revolution
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