Lioness Rachel Daly gives university team ‘almost instant credibility’ – coach

Ian Stone, from St John’s University women’s team, said his side practised penalties the day after Daly converted her spot-kick against Nigeria.

England star Rachel Daly’s former university coach has said using her name to recruit new players gives his team “almost instant recognition and credibility”.

Ian Stone, who coaches St John’s University women’s team in New York, said his side were practising penalties the day after Daly successfully converted a spot-kick in the Lionesses’ victory over Nigeria.

Ahead of the quarter-final against Colombia on Saturday, Stone told the PA news agency there was not a “week that goes by without me using her as an example in one way or another”.

Asked if Daly had helped him recruit players for the university, he said: “Yeah definitely, it’s already worked that way.

“Everybody knows her, pretty much anyone I recruit from all over the world now knows Rachel Daly – so as soon as you drop that name and you tell that other recruit that she played for us, it gives you almost instant recognition and credibility.

“Especially with English players – obviously she’s a bit of a celebrity now.”

He joked: “She always thought she was in her own mind – but now she actually is.”

Stone, who grew up in Bristol and went to college in Middlesex, recalled a time at a recruiting event in Harrogate where Daly was “swamped” by people wanting photographs and autographs.

He told PA: “I was like, this was a player I coached who is now this big of a deal in England – and this was before she started for the team that won the Euros.

“So yeah, it’s been phenomenal for our programme and she’s pretty gracious about it and helpful when it comes to the recruiting as well.

“There’s a few times I’ve reached out to her, especially with English players, and said could you just drop them a message and let them know that you played for us and that it’s a pretty good place?

“We don’t use it as much because I don’t want to bother her too much but she’s certainly available for that kind of thing as well which is great.”

Questioned on whether he ever used Daly as an example to his current squad, Mr Stone said: “Yeah, all the time.

“Literally the day after she scored that penalty we were practising penalties ourselves.

“The thing that the younger players have to learn from her is that the reason she can hit that penalty is because she’s practised that thousands of times.

“She’s somebody who, probably still, despite the fact she’s probably the best player that’s gone through the programme, she’s also the player that’s working hardest on her technique and refining her skills more than anybody we’ve ever had.”

Stone added: “It’s just a whole different mentality.

“There’s so many ways I can use her as an example but it just so happened that the other day we were actually working on penalties and she just whacked that thing in the top corner of the net so it was just too good an opportunity to pass up.

“So yeah, a week doesn’t go by without me using her as an example in one way or another.”

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