Roker Report broadcast our first-ever Lasses Podcast Live using the new Spaces feature on Twitter on Monday evening, and we were delighted to be joined for an exclusive interview by none other than 18-year-old star Neve Herron, who scored the opening goal in Sunderland Ladies 2-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers on Sunday.
Podcast host Ant Waterson began by asking Neve about the experience of playing in front of the home crowd for the first time since the pandemic, and what it’s like taking to the pitch at the Stadium of Light, and she was full of praise for the 749 who came along:
I think a lot of credit needs to go to the fans as well yesterday, because it made one hell of a difference towards the last 15 minutes in the game, I think. People don’t realise how much having fans actually like makes a game, so being able to have not even just like my own family and stuff there - the friends, all the RTC girls who came and watched, I think just made such a difference, and gave us a bit more of a boost towards the end.
Herron’s Player of the Match performance has gained rave reviews from those who were there, and Ant asked what it was like to get on the scoresheet:
Well to be honest I didn’t realise it was me, I just celebrated hoping that it was me, so when I watched it back, I was a bit relieved that it was me. It’s always nice to score, but then especially to score at the Stadium, like, just makes it that little bit better being a Sunderland fan as well.
The podcast team had discussed the influence of her Sunderland teammate Emma Kelly who re-signed with the club in the summer, earlier in the broadcast, and the adaptable youngster was full of praise for the way that Kelly and the rest of the senior players have helped her to develop her game recently:
I think I’ve got to give a big mention Emma at the last couple of weeks in training, because I’ve moved position as well. Just her helping me understanding the game that bit more in the midfield area. A lot of credit to all the girls – Meg Beer as well, she helps me a lot during all the games - constantly talking to me. It’s just everyone around you just has a bit of an input and help you perform that little bit better. I don’t think I could single players out - but I mean I just have – but yeah. Credit to all the girls, because the last couple weeks been tough - obviously losing Keira last week due to injury, but I think the way we performed [on Sunday] just shows that the team’s got what it takes.
Co-host Katie Hume was interested to know how, given the praise coming the way of Herron after her fantastic start to the season - which has included a call-up to England’s Under 19 squad, she is coming with the pressure to perform:
I just sort of just take each game as it comes. I don’t I don’t really pay attention to social media as such, it’s always nice getting a lot of credit from games and stuff. But like I said, yesterday was a time performance like it took every single one of us to get the 90 minutes and it wasn’t an individual performance. I think taking each game as it comes, and just keeping my head down and staying focused on what I want to achieve.
Roker Report writer Graeme Field was interested to know how Neve had coped during lockdown when training together with the rest of the squad was impossible. Herron gave us an insight into how just important family has been to helping footballers to get through the unprecedented challenges they’ve faced, and how her relatives continue to help her to develop her game:
I’ve got to give a big mention to all my family through lockdown. They must have been sick me constantly asking for them to come and play football. My dad, bless him, coming and standing in goal and me blasting a ball off him. I’m sure we loved every minute of that, but yeah, all my brothers and sisters just constantly pushing me to be the best I can be.
Like my grandad, after every game he has got a little bit to say on what I’ve done well, what I can do better, and I then go away work on it – whether that’s short, sharp stuff, or picking out the longer passes stuff like that. It’s just everyone in my family plays a part. I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today without any of them to be honest. They just they just do play a massive part in my football and life, and I think it’s the same for most players to be honest; their families are behind them in supporting them all the time.
Finally, Katie asked who amongst the Lads or the Lasses playing for Sunderland now or in previous years she’s looked to as as a role model, and Neve didn’t disappoint in her answer - choosing two of the most popular and combative midfielders in recent years:
Tough question… but I can’t lie, I’ve always been a Lee Cattermole fan, and my family always laugh at me for that, yeah. His work rate that he put into the club while he was there, he’s always near the ball, and just feisty and I like that about him. But I think as well, Luke O’Nien, who currently plays for the men, I think he’s a quality player and obviously he’s played different positions. So I think I’m learning from him as well when I’ve watched men’s games; looking where he is when he played centre mid, his positioning - is he screening the nine? Is he pressing? So yeah, I think Lee Cattermole and Luke O’Nien are my two.
Find out what Neve Herron had to say about this weekend’s match against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in the final part of the interview exclusively in Sunday’s Lasses Match Preview here on the Roker Report website.
And don’t forget to set a reminder on Twitter for the second Lasses Podcast Live at 8pm on Monday evening. Ha’way The Lasses!!!
LASSES PODCAST LIVE— Roker Report (@RokerReport) September 9, 2021
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