Lauren Hemp: From Outside Light To England's Shining Star

Hemp has taken the spotlight that others have left behind
09:00, 19 Aug 2023

Lauren Hemp started England’s Euro 2022 final win over Germany. She was a key member of Sarina Wiegman's XI as the Lionesses went all the way on home soil, yet she never stole the show like many of her team-mates. 

Beth Mead was the star of the show as she scored six goals to take home the Golden Boot. Her goals were absolutely pivotal to England’s success and she tormented defences from the right-hand side. Up front, Ellen White was the iconic figure who ground defences down, before the next in line Alessia Russo came on to fire the goals in.

Russo didn’t start a game but found the net four times, including with that spectacular backheel against Sweden in the semi-final. Russo’s name was on the lips of every spectator as fans debated whether she should start ahead of White. In the end, Wiegman stuck to her guns as both number nines made a name for themselves on the big stage. 


Fran Kirby’s energy was electric as she scored twice, as did Ella Toone, who became an instant hit with the fans. The ever-popular Manchester United midfielder scored the opener in the final against Germany and is now a household name, while no one can forget Chloe Kelly’s impact at Euro 2022. 

Coming off the bench, the Manchester City winger scored the goal that won the final for England. It is a goal that has been replayed thousands of times and if she never does anything else for the rest of her footballing career, she will still be heralded as an England hero. That goal is etched onto the brains of every young boy and girl in the country.

It’s fair to say that Hemp didn’t quite enjoy the same highs as her attacking team-mates. She was the lowest scorer of those mentioned above at the Euros, scoring just once, the same as right-back Lucy Bronze. Although she kept a starting spot for the final, she wasn’t as revered as some of those players left on the bench. 

For some, she was the least important member of the attacking line-up. 


However, at this World Cup, everything has changed. Without Kirby, Mead and White, Hemp has had to step up and be counted. She looked lost on the left in the opener against Haiti and lost her starting spot to Lauren James for the second match. It looked like another tournament in which she would be cast as an outsider rather than the leading lady. 

But the switch in formation for the third group game has given Hemp new life. She has been placed up front alongside Russo and the duo have caused carnage. Whether supplied by James or Toone at number 10, the pairing has showed all the attributes to tear any team apart. Russo’s physicality and touch allows England to progress forward while often Hemp is using her pace to get in behind. 

They scored two between them against China and haven’t looked back since. In the quarter-final against Colombia, it was more of the same as they got another goal apiece to turn the game around for Wiegman's troops. Russo has the perfect knack of drawing defenders in, and Hemp has found the goalscoring knack, as her leveller in the last eight showed. 

In the semi-final, when England needed her most, she produced again. It didn’t look like she had a hope of reaching a lofted ball over the top from Millie Bright, but through sheer determination she crafted a goalscoring opportunity and found the back of the net with a calm finish.

That’s been a keen feature of her game, and now she is level with James and Russo as England’s top scorers at this tournament, with her sublime run and reverse pass having teed up the new Arsenal striker for the clincher on Wednesday. It's a long shot, but with a hat-trick on Sunday she would win the Golden Boot. If Hemp scores three in a World Cup final, the individual prize will be the last thing on her mind. England’s former fringe star would have to put up with Geoff Hurst comparisons for the rest of her days. 

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