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Chelsea Ladies striker Helen Ward says she has no regrets after choosing to play for Wales instead of England
In 2008 Helen Ward had a decision to make. Should she stick with England or take up an offer to play for Wales? 50 caps and 30 international goals later, it is little surprise she doesn’t have any regrets about her choice.
Ward’s landmark cap for Wales came against Belarus in a 2015 World Cup qualifier last Thursday. Before kick-off she received a guard of honour from the Welsh squad and a bouquet of flowers to mark the achievement.
The country’s all-time leading scorer predictably grabbed the winner to seal a 1-0 victory.
“I’m massively pleased,” Ward, who plays for Women’s Super League side Chelsea, said. “I never thought I would play one international game so to reach 50 is a great achievement for me.
“The number of goals is not a bad record, is it? I am very proud of myself and I have got to thank a lot of people for helping me reach that, particularly my teammates.
“They create the chances for me and from there it is a case of me making the right runs or being in the right place – that comes with a lot of work on the training pitch.”
But it could all have been so different for the striker, who lives in Northwood, and began her career with Watford Ladies.
In 2007 Ward made a ten-minute substitute appearance for England Under-23s in a 4-1 defeat to Finland at the Nordic Cup. A year later the offer came from Wales.
“I only played one game for the England side during that week and I was asked if I wanted to play for Wales,” she explained.
“My mum’s dad was Welsh and she is very proud of where they came from. I said yes and I have no regrets about making that decision.”
Having joined Watford at the age of eight, Ward spent 14 years with the club. She rose through the various age groups and established herself in the senior side.
She left for Arsenal Ladies in 2009 and spent a year with the Gunners before moving to Chelsea in 2010.
However, her heart remains with the Hornets.
She explained: “Watford played a massive part in my career and I am a Watford supporter and season ticket holder.
“I have a lot of affection for the club and I always think I will make my way back there at some point.”
Ward was joined in the Wales squad by Watford Ladies’ striker Sarah Wiltshire and said it is testament to the club that several of their youth products have gone on to play international football.
He added: “The whole Wales squad are great and we all get along well. There are a few girls from Watford in the Wales team and that is great to see.
“It shows the club are doing very well to develop players who are capable of playing international football.”
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