11 November 2022

Jess Park ‘overwhelmed’ by quickfire debut goal in England victory over Japan

11 November 2022

Jess Park struggled to sum up her emotions after scoring just seconds into her England debut to cap a 4-0 friendly win over Japan.

A victory which takes the Lionesses’ unbeaten run to 25 games was already assured after goals from Rachel Daly, Chloe Kelly and Ella Toone, but the 21-year-old Park arrived to steal the spotlight, scoring with her second touch 79 seconds after coming on as a substitute.

“I’m a bit overwhelmed at the minute,” Park said on ITV. “It’s absolutely amazing. I’m so honoured to be able to play for my country and to score a goal. I’ve dreamed of this since I was a little girl and it’s come true.

“My head’s gone, I’m so happy.”

Park, on loan at Everton from Manchester City, poked home after fellow substitute Ebony Salmon had used her strength to beat Moeka Minami on the right wing.

“(Sarina Wiegman) just told me to have fun, enjoy and do your role,” Park added. “Ebs did all the work for me and I just had to slot it in.”

It was Salmon’s second assist of a cameo which itself lasted only 26 minutes, but England had laid the foundations of this win before the substitutes were introduced.

Daly started at right-back, but the versatile Aston Villa player again stated her case to be starting in attack with the way she took the opener late in the first half.

Kelly then made the most of an over-hit Beth Mead cross by smashing in a second, before Salmon and fellow substitute Lauren James combined to set up Toone for the third.

Victory over Japan is another key marker for the European champions as they look to next summer’s World Cup.

Wiegman’s side have now beaten all four nations who have previously won the World Cup – a list they hope to join next year – and they took this victory despite missing the likes of Lucy Bronze, Alex Greenwood, Lauren Hemp and Fran Kirby.

“I think we played a very good game, it was an attractive game with lots of football because of course they wanted to play football too,” Wiegman said.

“They played in a shape we haven’t had against us a lot and it was good to practice. Then they changed it in the second half and changed back, so we had to adapt.

“It was good to see the different players and the substitutes coming on and doing a good job.

“(Park) only played two minutes, so I can’t really say how she played, but we saw two things. There was a long ball and we saw the strength of Ebony Salmon, her pace to win the ball and then Jess says, ‘I have to be there and get the ball in the net’.

“I’ve only seen her smiling.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox