Team GB’s goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck has said she needed to be “patient” to earn the No 1 shirt as an international, after conceding her first goal at the Olympics in Team GB’s 1-1 draw with Canada.
In 2019 the Manchester City keeper was named as a 24th player in the 23-woman squad for the Women’s World Cup, a travelling player along for the experience. Two years later she is first choice for City, England and Team GB aged 21.
“It’s crazy,” said Roebuck. “I was obviously young when I went to the World Cup – a lot has happened in that short space of time. I used that as a driver. Being No 1 has been my aim since I was a kid. You learn, you see the big moments and I’ve had some great keepers to learn from.”
Looking back she does not feel she was ready in 2019. “So I accepted the decision,” she said. “But I think it made me work harder.
“When I found out I was going to be No 1 it was unbelievable and something I’ve worked a while for. I’ve just had to be patient, I’ve done all the other jobs and I like to think I’ve supported the other girls really well and they’re supporting me now so it’s a great group and one that hopefully can carry on and kick on.”
In Japan, Roebuck and Team GB have the best defensive record of the group stage with two clean sheets and the single goal conceded.
“Sometimes you can’t do anything about it and it was a good finish,” Roebuck said. “But the girls in front of me have been unbelievable; I’ve not really had that much to do. I like to think my talking has helped them a little bit but they’ve been rocks.”
Roebuck is one of the few players to have played all three games, with Chelsea’s Carly Telford and Everton’s Sandy MacIver waiting in the wings, and she has been unsurprised but impressed with how easily players have slotted in when the manager, Hege Riise, has rotated.
“Whoever comes in knows the style of play, we’ve worked really hard on that and the way we want to play,” Roebuck said. “Everyone in the squad has been picked for a reason. We’ve shown now we can rotate, get some fresh legs on there and they can do a brilliant job. That’s a credit to Hege’s selections and the girls who hadn’t played being ready and available to step up when needed.”
A late strike from Roebuck’s clubmate Caroline Weir salvaged a point against Canada and ensured Team GB topped Group E and set up a quarter-final with Australia. The manner of the draw mattered.
“It shows a different side to our game,” Roebuck said. “We dug in. Obviously we went in wanting to win – that’s the way we always approach the game – but I guess when you can’t do that and it’s not that easy, to be able to stick in there and get the point will give us a lot of confidence now.
“Australia will be a different test and one we’re looking forward to. We’re confident as a squad now and hopefully you can see that it’s clicking well.”