Hodgkinson knew Toone would become England star after ‘smoking’ boys’ team
- Athlete and Euro 2022 winner friends since school days
- Hodgkinson: ‘We are two young girls living their dreams’
Britain’s 800m world silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson says she always knew her schoolmate Ella Toone would become an England star because she used to “smoke” all the boys at football.
The pair have been good friends since meeting at Fred Longworth High School in Tyldesley, Greater Manchester, where they used to do cross-country and football together. Hodgkinson said she and Toone, who scored England’s first goal in the 2-1 victory against Germany at Wembley on Sunday, were both living their dreams.
“She was two years older than me but somehow we just ended up getting on really well,” Hodgkinson said after qualifying for the Commonwealth Games 800m final.
“I was always referred to as the ‘mini Ella’ growing up at school. So we kept in touch from that and she was in Tokyo last year as well. We are just two young girls living their dreams.”
Hodgkinson said she knew Toone would go right to the top. “She used to play on our boys football team and she was smoking them, so there was absolutely no way she wasn’t going to make it.”
Hodgkinson said she used to play on one team with Toone at school, but she was nowhere near as good. “We did some cross-countries too. I always tended to beat her on the running, but she was naturally very good, she’s got a lot of talent.”
Hodgkinson, who won a silver medal at the Olympics last year, said she had been gripped by the Lionesses’ progress and that it would be a game-changer for women’s sport across the country.
“It was absolutely amazing, I really enjoyed watching it,” she said. “And what is that going to do for women’s sport? I’ve seen all the little girls watching it and it’s really nice for them to see that because before they wouldn’t have had that. Ella did so well to score. I know she’s on cloud nine so big congrats to her.”