Clinton: It’s what dreams are made of

Saturday 24 February 2024 11:33

Manchester United Women midfielder Grace Clinton says scoring on her senior England debut is “what dreams are made of”.

The 20-year-old, who is spending the season on loan at Tottenham Hotspur, netted her country’s second goal in a 7-2 friendly win over Austria on Friday evening.

Making her first appearance for the Lionesses, after being named in Sarina Wiegman’s starting XI, Grace played just over an hour in total and got on the scoresheet less than 20 minutes in, after heading home Lauren Hemp’s cross from the left.

The effort sees her add to the five goals she has for Spurs this term, in what has been an impressive loan spell to date for the young attacking midfielder, who joined United from Everton in the summer of 2022.


After the game, Clinton told ITV Football’s Katie Shanahan of her delight with the occasion as a whole. 

“Yeah definitely, [it was a dream debut],” she said. “It’s what dreams are made of, so I’m very happy.

“I didn’t know [my first England goal] would be with my head but I’m just absolutely buzzing.

“Going into the game, it was probably the biggest game of my career so far, so for it to go like that, I’m very happy.”

Clinton started in midfield alongside United team-mate Ella Toone, while fellow Red Maya Le Tissier completed the full 90 minutes in defence, assisting the Lionesses’ seventh goal. Mary Earps and Millie Turner were unused substitutes at Estadio Nuevo Mirador in Algeciras, Spain.

Grace explained that she was tasked to play in a slightly different role to what she is used to, by head coach Wiegman, occupying a deeper position in the middle of the park.

“Sarina told me at the start of the week that she was going to try me in the [number] eight [role], so I’m open to a challenge, it’s really nice to be deeper and get on the ball more, that’s what I want to do.

“So, to be in there with G [Georgia Stanway] and Tooney, they really helped me out a lot, so it was nice.

“It’s so competitive, there’s so many great players in the squad, and to be around them is an unbelievable experience. To be competing in there, it’s what you want to be doing.”


Elsewhere, there were more of United Women’s international representatives with reasons to celebrate on Friday, as February’s matches involving our players got into full swing.

Lucia Garcia was a late substitute for Spain, who defeated the Netherlands 3-0 in their UEFA Nations League semi-final on home soil.

Former United defender Ona Batlle got the last of the goals for the world champions, who will play France in Wednesday’s final, with a place in this summer’s Olympics at stake.

February's internationals: Which Reds play when?


Your one-stop guide to the games involving United Women stars across the remainder of this month.

Aoife Mannion and Lisa Naalsund were also second-half introductions for their respective nations, the Republic of Ireland and Norway, on Friday.

Mannion, who has recently returned from injury, picked up her third senior cap for Ireland, after coming on in stoppage time of their goalless draw in a friendly against Italy.

Meanwhile, Naalsund helped Norway secure a 3-0 victory in the first leg of their UEFA Nations League play-off away to Croatia, ensuring they take a healthy advantage into the return match next Tuesday, as they look to secure a League A position for Euro 2025 qualifying by triumphing in the tie.
Before then, United’s representation in this month’s international break could continue in the early hours of Sunday morning (03:15 GMT), as Geyse’s Brazil continue their CONCACAF W Gold Cup campaign against Colombia, having defeated Puerto Rico 1-0 on matchday one.

Geyse was brought on in the 71st minute of that clash on Thursday, as the South Americans scored late on to begin their group-stage schedule with three points.