Spain slayer Georgia Stanway, the Bayern-bound Lioness with a ferocious bite…

John Nicholson
Georgia Stanway celebrates scoring for England against Norway

Georgia Stanway thrust herself into the spotlight with a thunderb*stard to sink Spain at the European Championships this week. Johnny Nic is a fan…


Who’s this then?
Georgia Marie Stanway is a 23-year-old, 5’4″ midfielder from the Cumbrian town of Barrow-in-Furness. She has played 163 games for Manchester City, is their record goalscorer and has 38 caps for England. She has just transferred to Bayern Munich for the next season in a three-year deal, which all goes to underline just how highly regarded she is in the game right across Europe. The fact she scored a great penalty against Norway in Euro 2022 and a trademark long-range strike to win an unbelievably tight and tense quarter-final against Spain, will only boost her profile even more.

Her career actually started at Blackburn Rovers in 2014 but after scoring 35 goals in just 15 games for their first-team, Manchester City saw her potential as a teenager and scooped her up in July 2015. In the intervening seven years she has scored 56 goals, despite actually playing in several different positions, including right-back when Lucy Bronze was injured. She was even nominated as a reserve goalie at one point. However, these days, for club and country she is settling into a dynamic run-all-day, box-to-box progressive central midfielder role.

In a sign of her dominant and competitive personality, she was captain of England Under-17s who finished third at the 2016 European Championships. In 2018 for the Under-20s at the World Cup, she was pivotal in England’s campaign scoring six times, as the team finished third. She scored on her full England debut and even now, give her an opening in front of goal anything from 25 metres out and she’s belting it into your net.

Her trophy cabinet (it probably isn’t an actual cabinet, does anyone under the age of 60 have a cabinet?) is already quite full. She won one Super League with City along with three FA Cups and three League Cups. For England she’s got the SheBelieves winners’ medal and an Arnold Clark (most boring name ever) Cup Winners’ gong too. By the end of this month she may be able to add a Euro 2022 medal to that collection. Let’s bloody well hope so.


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Why the love?
A precocious talent, in 2019, she was awarded PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year aged 20 after being nominated for BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year when just 17.

Her game has an edge to it and she’d be the first to admit it, saying: “I do quite like the rough and tumble and I can be a bit nasty.”

She’s direct and aggressive when she needs to be and those substantial abductor muscles put real and impressive power behind her shooting. She is probably England’s most powerful striker of the ball. Having played successfully as a striker as a youth, when it comes to playing a midfield role for both Manchester City and England, she pounces on any opening in front of goal, still with that striker’s instinct. That’s a hugely useful thing to have in your midfield as Wednesday’s game well showed. Her 21 goals in 23 under-age England games and 11 international goals in 38 games for the first team is testimony to her effectiveness.

She is an imperious penalty-taker with a ‘gimme the ball’ attitude that reminds me of Alan Shearer, which is no coincidence as she’s a big fan of Wor Al, coming from a family of Newcastle United supporters.

But that characteristic applies right across her game. There is an innate confidence and no little attitude to Georgia, doubtless born out of being at the top of the game from a young age, as well as it being in her DNA. That her next destination is Germany is no surprise. It may be a long way from Barrow-in Furness to Munich, but she seems to be the sort of person who will take it all in her stride. After all, she left home aged just 16 to follow her football dream.

That said, following a mis-timed, high tackle on Leah Galton and a subsequent red card playing for City against Manchester United led to a lot of online abuse, which she spoke well about along with her friend and team-mate Alex Greenwood.

It’s her work ethic that impresses time and again. She knows how to put a long hard shift in and that was very much in evidence in the 120 minutes against Spain. Afterwards, she said: “The grit, the dirty work, getting up to the ball, putting the tackles in, making sure to challenge their decision making and making them uncomfortable; that’s what we did tonight. You’ve just got to expect to be doing the running, get across the pitch, up to players.”

And that sums her up really well. Energy, determination, grit and a sledgehammer in her foot.

England beat Spain


Three great moments

A great view from of THAT thunderous shot…


And another view…


Four years earlier she did this, which looks awfully familiar.


Lethal penalty taker…

Future days?
With over nine million watching the Spain game on TV and online in the UK and another five million in Spain, making it the most watched TV programme in Spain on Wednesday, those who think the women’s game is still locked in a backwater, unnoticed and unloved, must be either in absolute denial or merely stupid. Rather, its popularity is rising so fast that it even takes the women playing the game by surprise, as the sport shifts gears from niche to mainstream.

With popularity, of course, comes new pressures. England’s players are household names and will be increasingly recognised in the streets and their lives increasingly picked apart by the media. It is to be hoped that they are all getting training in how to handle all of this new attention. It’s good to know that England’s male players have been in touch with them to offer support and advice.

Georgia Stanway, as one of the team’s leading lights, who is surely destined to captain her country in the future, and is playing for a top European club, will be one of those in the brightest spotlight. Let’s hope that it doesn’t put a cramp in her game or inhibit her in any way because, when she’s on form, tackling hard, running fast and free and unleashing that thunderbolt shot, there is no finer sight in the game.