Manchester City's England forward Lauren Hemp and her Australian teammate Mary Fowler are both looking ahead to new challenges at club level and another shot at Women’s World Cup glory in four years' time.
Hemp, 23, was a key player in England’s European Championship triumph in 2022 and took that form into this year's Women's World Cup, held in Australia and New Zealand.
Though primarily a winger, Hemp's transformation as a striker in coach Sarina Wiegman's England side paid huge dividends.
Hemp was on target in the 6-1 win over China in the group stage before scoring in the quarter-final and semi-final wins over Colombia and Australia, respectively.
The Lionesses could not get over the last hurdle though, narrowly losing to Spain 1-0 in the final.
Despite that heartbreak, Hemp said there was plenty to be positives to be taken.
“It would have been better had we completed the European and World Cup double but that didn’t happen. Even so, it has been an incredible run for the team,” Hemp told The National in a recent Zoom interview.
“We have got a great team and are looking forward to the challenges that are coming up. Obviously, the objective is to win all major trophies for both England and for my club.
“I’m excited to be part of this England World Cup team, to be honest. We have so much pride as a group of players, we're together, we've got a lot of great individuals.
“It was still a success for us that we got so far. Unfortunately, we got beat and it just wasn't our day. But it gives us so much more desire. Hopefully, we see success next year and, in more years, to come.”
Hemp said she maintains the same "desire and hunger" to represent England at the 2027 Women's World Cup and is also concentrating on winning more silverware at City.
Hemp joined City in 2018 from Bristol City, a move she described as "one of the best things that could have happened in my career". She won the FA Women's Cup in her first season and added the League Cup in 2022.
After four games City sit top of the Women's Super League on 10 points, ahead of Chelsea on goal difference, and Hemp believes City's squad is capable of challenging for all major honours this term.
“It’s a very exciting season for City with everything up for grabs in the Women’s Super League,” she said.
“We had a pretty good start by winning the first two games. The season could be anything, to be honest. We want to win every title we can and obviously we want to win a Champions League spot. We have some great individuals. and yes, we are team with full of confidence to achieve those goals.
“Moving to City was one of the best things that could have happened in my career. I was quite lucky and it was a real nice move and a nice environment to be in. It’s more enjoyable too to keep achieving my own objectives."
Fowler, 20, also enjoyed success at her home World Cup, helping the Matildas reach the semi-finals before suffering a 3-1 loss to England.
A midfielder able to operate in attack, Fowler joined City from French club Montpellier on a four-year contract in 2022. City finish fourth in the 2022/23 season, 11 points behind champions Chelsea, but Fowler, like Hemp, believes City are capable of mounting a title challenge this time around.
“City is a great place,” Fowler said. “For me, it’s a great opportunity at a young age. It was super grateful to be in a big club. To play in the World Cup and play for City has been amazing for me. I think I'm really lucky.
“I think I'm just really excited about where our team can get to. I think last season we had quite a lot of changes with a fair amount of new people coming in, and I think it took us a bit of time to really gel as a team.
“But having only signed one player, it's so much more fluid out on the pitch. And I think everyone is able to connect with each other off the pitch, which it definitely helps being on the pitch as well. I feel we're so much more of a team just because we've had more time together.”
She added: "We're going for every trophy this season and we want to make sure we get to that stage because last season we were just off it. So, we want to make sure that we're in and amongst it at the top this season.”
Playing in the World Cup in front of her home fans was a highpoint for Fowler. She said her biggest takeaway was seeing how many teams performed beyond expectations.
“It was really nice to see how much growth there was in terms of the level of the countries that people might not expect much from. Instead, they were really competing at a high level and really challenging the top teams.
“It happened to us with Nigeria [a 3-2 defeat], where they beat us and they were a really good team which most might not have expected previously. So, I think it's nice to just have a World Cup where that’s the level you see in every match.”