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Last Updated: Friday, 17 August 2007, 06:01 GMT 07:01 UK
Mary Phillip Q&A
Mary Phillip in action for England
Born: 14/03/77
Caps: 56
Position: Central defender
Current club: Arsenal
Previous clubs: Fulham, Millwall
Mary Phillip is one of nine Arsenal players in Hope Powell's England squad for the Women's World Cup in China.

The defender has plenty of experience having made more than 50 appearances for her country.

BBC Blast reporter Olga Mirzoian spoke to Mary for BBC Sport before she jetted off to China, for her views on the women's game, England's World Cup hopes and competing against Wayne Rooney.

You're off to China, what's it like going away together with the squad?

It's great banter, we all get on well and it's a great laugh. But when it comes down to playing we take it very seriously.

What sort of experience can you pass on to the other girls?

In 1995 I was called into the England squad and I wasn't expected to go out to Sweden, so it was quite a learning process.

It will be similar for some of the youngsters that have come through, so I will be hands-on for anyone who wants advice.

England's Wayne Rooney in action
Comparisons with England's men's team are not always helpful

What do you miss most when you go away?

My kids - four to six weeks will be a long time but it is the World Cup! It has taken 12 years for the team to get there again.

How do you feel about constant comparisons between the men's and women's game?

It's silly when people say men and women should mix playing. It's fine until the age of 14, but once the physical aspects become involved, a girl cannot compete.

If you asked me to mark Wayne Rooney, he would leave me standing with the blink of an eye! And he'd be 10 times stronger than me in a tackle.

Our game is obviously slower because we're not as quick as men, but our skills are the same if not better at times. People don't realise how good the women's game is.

Ian Rush
Ian Wright
John Barnes
Franco Baresi

Do you think it's better for young girls to play alongside boys or can they develop just as well in a girls team?

I think a girl develops a lot better playing alongside boys because of competing at their skill level.

And obviously it's a lot more physical playing against boys. Girls only is not a bad thing because some just don't like playing with boys so it's good for them to keep playing.

But I find that girls who have come through boys teams have become stronger and better players.

How old were you when you first got into football?

I was six, playing with my two brothers and sister. It wasn't easy to find a club, I would have loved to have the facilities that are available now.

It was off-chance that I got spotted. I was walking down the road throwing a ball with my friend and a youth worker starting a ladies team asked if we were interested.

So an off-chance of walking down the road throwing a football to becoming an England International. It's great!

Any superstitions before a game?

The only thing is I don't like tucking my shirt in before I actually get onto the pitch.

Phillip is confident of England's World Cup chances
Phillip and Rachel Yankey - room-mates and team-mates

I'm constantly told to tuck my shirt in while in the tunnel but I don't feel right tucking it in before I get out there.

Who are you sharing a room with?

I always share with Rachel Yankey, so I'm going to assume that she'll be my roomie!

Any strange habits?

No, we're so used to each other now that we probably wouldn't even notice each other's habits! We just get on really well, as all the girls do.

Would you step up to take a penalty?


Any pre-planned goal celebrations?

They're hard to plan because when you score you just become ecstatic! I haven't scored for England or Arsenal, but I'd be the same as everyone else - hands up, run and celebrate with your team-mates!

The Women's World Cup kicks off on 10 September in Shanghai. You can see coverage of the tournament on BBC Two

Women's World Cup schedule
21 Jun 07 |  Women
Powell leaving nothing to chance
27 Jul 07 |  Football
Women target Olympic spot
08 Aug 07 |  Women


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