Laura Bassett targets return to Phil Neville's England team after pregnancy

World Cup semi-finalist Laura Bassett’s current focus may be her impending motherhood but she insists her playing career might not be done just yet.

The former England international joined Canberra United in the Australian W-League in 2017 but has put her career on hold as she prepares for the birth of her first child.

Bassett earned 61 caps for her country, including reaching the semi-finals at both the 2015 World Cup in Canada and the 2017 Women’s Euros in Holland.

Having also played for Birmingham, Arsenal and Chelsea, Bassett has plenty of pedigree within the game and is leaving her options open.

“I’m not ruling out playing after the baby,” said Bassett, speaking at England’s national football training centre, St George’s Park, where she led an SSE Wildcats training session.

“I’m 24 weeks pregnant at the moment so I can’t plan past having a baby – getting used to motherhood is the main priority.

“I haven’t done much exercise recently, I don’t think I can appreciate giving birth or labour at the minute either!

“But I think I’ll stay involved in women’s football in some capacity, I’ve been doing some coaching badges and doing some coaching experience, whilst doing some work in the media as well – punditry and co-commentary.

“As the women’s game grows there’s more opportunity in those areas so I’m saying yes to everything at the moment and seeing which avenues I like and want to pursue further.

“I was fortunate enough to train with England from under-16 level all the way through the age-groups to the seniors. I’ve been to five international tournaments so I look back and I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved.

“But of course you miss playing, especially when you come back to St George’s Park.”

Bassett played 12 games for Canberra United to help them finish fifth in the W-League this season, and the defender believes the experience of adapting to a new culture on the other side of the world benefitted her massively.

She added: “It’s been incredible. I’ve always wanted to go and play football abroad, so I’m really pleased that I can finally tick that box off.

“In terms of playing, it was brilliant to play under a different coach and learn how they see football, the language they use, and the challenge of the temperatures.

“One of our kick-offs got delayed for two hours from 4.30pm to 6.30pm because it was still 36 degrees – you tend not to have those problems in England!

“I think it really improved me as a person as well, you have to live on your own and learn a new culture – it’s still English-speaking but it’s halfway around world on your own, so you have to grow up quickly.

“I loved every minute of it and the opportunities are there now for others to do the same.”

As the energy behind women’s football, SSE’s ambition is to support girls of all ages in England, helping them join in football from grassroots to the elite level. For more information on SSE’s sponsorships and activities visit sse.co.uk