Carly Telford said she is honoured to have been called up to the Team GB squad for the Olympics following injury to Karen Bardsley but understands that her “position will always be questioned” given her limited game time at Chelsea.
Telford has joined the squad for Tokyo despite Everton’s Sandy MacIver being on the reserve list, with the Chelsea goalkeeper’s greater experience playing a part.
“We are very fortunate to be able to call on a goalkeeper of Carly’s pedigree,” said manager Hege Riise. “Losing Karen was a blow, of course, but her selection was always a close call with Carly, given they both have such strong reputations. Carly is a leader and she will be a big asset for us and what we are hoping to achieve.”
Telford made three league starts for the champions last season but the 33-year-old has been to three World Cups with England, with her first start coming in France in 2019 against Argentina in the second group game.
“I do get that my position is always questioned given my game time at Chelsea,” she said. “I know my experience has a massive part to play but ultimately I’m here because I’m a good goalkeeper as well. I know I’m a good goalkeeper. I know I have a lot to bring to the group on the pitch as well as off it. Sometimes you feel like you have to prove yourself a little bit more but there’s a reason why [Chelsea’s] goalkeeping unit is one of the best.”
Chelsea had the best defensive record in the league last season, conceding 10 goals in 22 games and losing just once. Some argue that Telford needs to leave to further her international career but she said her age and the quality of the coaching at Chelsea are factors in her decision to stay put.
“Do I, at 33, I’ll be 34 in July, want to go and join a new club, take that kind of leadership role, start again and how long do I want to do it for? At Chelsea I know the group, we’re winning, there are opportunities, not as many as I’d like, but I’m pushed by in my opinion the best goalkeeper in the world [Ann-Katrin Berger] and you can’t get that anywhere else. I also can’t guarantee the coaching I’m going to get anywhere else. Women’s football is not at the point where you can go to every club and guarantee that level of coaching.
“If I was 25 and we were having this conversation I’d be gone, I’d have bullied my way out of Chelsea because yes I’ve won stuff but I’d need to be playing, but I also understand that I’m at the latter end of my career.”
Team GB play Zambia in a warmup friendly in Stoke on 1 July before they fly to Tokyo.