Wed, 10/05/23, 14:18
Georgia Stanway: I'm completely happy on and off the pitch
Georgia Stanway came to Munich last summer as a European champion - now the 24-year-old is closing in on becoming a German champion with FCB Women. Bayern was made for her, says the England international in an exclusive interview with members' magazine Säbener 51 on brothers, bruises and beans on toast.
The interview with Georgia Stanway
Georgia, we're into the final weeks of the season. You're leaders in the Bundesliga - and champions at the end of May?
"We're doing everything we can. Every game is a final now. We just have to let the ball do the work, give off joy and confidence, and win one game after the other. I think, when each and every one of us is in top form, we can be unbeatable."
„I think, when each and every one of us is in top form, we can be unbeatable.”
You said in an interview that you have to become "nastier". What did you mean by that?
"I think as a team we're sometimes a bit too honest. It needs to be uncomfortable for other teams to play against us because they don't get on the ball, because they can't free themselves, because they feel how strong we are. When we beat Wolfsburg 1-0 in the Bundesliga a few weeks ago, we did that as well as we've ever done. As soon as one of us was down, the others formed a circle around her. It's about those details, but also about making high demands on each other, about being able to give and accept constructive criticism."
Is football nastier in England than in Germany?
"I certainly think it's a bit rougher in England, probably because that's just our nature (laughs). We English often speak before we think. In Germany it tends to be the other way round. The teams in the Bundesliga play in a much more tactical, structured and disciplined way, which makes them harder to break down."
You grew up with three brothers. You must have had to learn to defend yourself.
"You could say that (laughs). I grew up in a large family where it was always abut being first: the first to dinner, the first in the car so you could sit at the front. Everything was a competition. Also, from the age of four to 12 I always played in boys teams, always as the only girl. There I learned to elbow my way through and throw myself around in the mud. That certainly had an influence. I always wanted to be the best."
For Bayern it's also always about winning, so you must feel at home here?
"Totally. I hate losing. And when it does happen, I'm the first who wants to get back on the pitch to put things right again."
„From the age of four to 12 I always played in boys teams, always as the only girl. There I learned to elbow my way through and throw myself around in the mud.”
When teammates or coaches talk about you, words such as mentality, bravery, power and ambition always come up. That sounds like a young girl who couldn't sit still.
"Oh yes! And that's still the case. When I'm in my flat, I'm constantly pottering about, cleaning the drawers or tidying in the kitchen. I just come from a very active family. My parents are both sports teachers. My mum was a runner, my dad played football, my brothers too. We all played cricket too. Sport was just part of every day for us. But even if I didn't like it, I did have to learn that it's good for my body to sit still from time to time."
Tell us a bit about your childhood. You grew up in Barrow in northwest England.
"Barrow is pretty much at the end of the world. You can't travel further because the Irish Sea is behind it. I loved growing up there. Beach, mountains, lakes, good food... There's everything you need. The people are so helpful – it's only thanks to their help that I've made it this far. I got a free gym membership, an allowance for petrol costs, a garage even gave me a car when I had my licence. There was actually no reason to leave Barrow, but for football I had to. Now I want to give something back. Unfortunately, I haven't had time to do that yet because I came straight to Munich last summer after the European Championship and haven't been home since. But in the summer I will return and maybe visit a few schools."
Apparently your mum trained with you and had bruises everywhere afterwards.
"(laughs) Yes, you could've heard her screaming. I was playing at Blackburn at the time and had a period where I couldn't hit the target anymore, I was so frustrated. Then in the summer holidays, my mum walked with me to the football pitch for six weeks, went in goal and I shot. She hated it but she was desperate to help me. My mum's just crazy, I admire her a lot."
You've managed to score some remarkable goals from distance for Bayern. Where does the power in your right foot come from?
"I ask myself that sometimes as well. Because no matter how much work I do in the weights room, it doesn't do a lot for me (laughs). This power is probably a bit innate. Besides, I think it's more a question of technique than strength."
Perfectly hit! In the home match against Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Georgia Stanway scored the FC Bayern Goal of the Month for December:
Maybe it's to do with the beans on toast you eat before every match?
"They certainly give you strength. Luckily I found a shop in Munich where I get my beans. It has to be Heinz Beanz, they're the best. When my parents or friends visit me, they always bring a few tins. They somehow taste different here in Germany, though."
The Women’s Super League in England is regarded as the flagship league at the moment. However, you left England to come to Bayern. Why?
"After seven years at Manchester City, I felt it was time for the next step. I wanted to go out of my comfort zone, and I think it was the best thing I could've done. It was an easy decision to come to FCB. I was totally impressed by the interest, it's such a big club, the talks went well – it's like Bayern was meant for me. Now I'm completely happy here, on and off the pitch."
Do you feel that your first year at Bayern has brought you on as a player?
"When you come to another club in a different country, everything's new at first: the language, the culture, the tactics. You normally need six to eight months to settle in, but I already felt so at home here after a few weeks and was able to show what I'm about on the pitch. It happened a lot quicker than I thought. Of course, I came here with a lot of confidence on the back of the EURO, which certainly didn't do any harm. And I feel that I've developed more than I'd expected in the short space of time."
How's your German coming along?
"I recently heard a saying: 'Life's too short to learn German.' I agree (laughs). Seriously, I have a regular class and I am trying. We also speak a lot of English in the team and in training, though. That helped me to make friends quickly."
„I already felt so at home here after a few weeks and was able to show what I'm about on the pitch. It happened a lot quicker than I thought.”
You're only 24 and have already won a lot of trophies: three major titles in England and the EURO. What are your next aims?
"The Bundesliga with Bayern, that's what I want to achieve with this team now. And then it's the World Cup in the summer."
England are one of the top favourites. Who can beat you?
"We'll see (laughs)."