COMMENT: Hannah Hampton’s career is at a crossroads after being dropped by England over attitude problems… the Aston Villa goalkeeper is a star in the making but needs to work with her club if she is to realise her potential with the Lionesses
- The Villa goalkeeper has been dropped over behaviour and attitude problems
- The 21-year-old was also left out of Villa’s squad for the game against Chelsea
- Sportsmail understands Hampton has had prior warnings from her club
- It remains to be seen whether she will be integrated back into the squad this week
Hannah Hampton’s journey in football has been anything but easy.
The 21-year-old goalkeeper, who was born with a sight condition, defied the odds to become a professional footballer but now faces a crossroads with both club and country.
Hampton was dropped by England after the Euros over her attitude and on Sunday she was left out of the Aston Villa squad to face Chelsea, with manager Cara Ward insisting it was in the ‘best interests of the rest of the team’.
The goalkeeper had been due to return to action for Villa after recovering from an injury but Ward revealed ‘something happened’ the day before which led to her being excluded from the squad. Hampton then defied club orders to stay away from the match by travelling on her own and watching from the stands.
It remains to be seen whether she will be integrated back into the Villa squad this week but she is not likely to be recalled by England any time soon. Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman said in August that Hampton had ‘personal issues’ she had to resolve.
Sportsmail understands that Hampton has had prior warnings and that team-mates have raised concerns over her behaviour.
So where does the goalkeeper go from here?
Hannah Hampton – who was involved during Euro 2022 – has been dropped by England
Hampton’s attitude problems have resulted in her omission for both club and country
Hampton is a fantastically gifted player who has the potential to be a future England No 1. She perhaps has the best distribution of the goalkeepers available to Wiegman, which she showcased during her debut against Spain.
But with the World Cup just eight months away, the youngster has work to do to get back into the Lionesses set-up.
Hampton, who moved to Spain with her parents at the age of five, is clearly a resilient character. The goalkeeper was born with strabismus, a condition where the eyes point in different directions. She needed three operations as a toddler, none of which fully corrected the problems.
Hampton travelled to the Chelsea game on her own and shared an Instagram story of her view of the action from the stands
At the age of 12 she was also diagnosed with depth perception issues, which means she struggles to judge how far away an object is and finds it difficult to pour a drink into a glass. Told to abandon her dream of playing professional football, Hampton’s journey to becoming an international goalkeeper is remarkable.
She has also dealt with disappointment. In 2020 she was told she would not be part of the provisional Team GB squad for the Tokyo Olympics, just hours before she was due to play a league match for Birmingham. She went on to make several errors in the match, which her side lost 4-0. The Football Association were forced to apologise for the ‘careless’ timing. Hampton fought her way back into the international set-up and she can do so again.
Time is on her side. She is only 21 years old and still learning how to conduct herself as a professional. She was thrust into senior football at the tender age of 16, when she made her Birmingham City debut. It is not easy for young players, especially young female players to be thrown in at the deep end. They need help and guidance off the pitch and that sort of support is not always as readily available at women’s clubs as it is at men’s.
The 21-year-old has made two appearances for the Lionesses in her career so far
Hampton has work to do if she is to get back into contention for Villa and England squads
Hampton has always come across as a happy and bubbly character at England press days. The players who were part of the Euros squad were given a copy of The History of Women’s Football by Jean Williams in camp and Hampton spoke passionately about how the book had inspired her.
‘We got given a book and I read the whole thing,’ Hampton said back in June. ‘The first night I read 50-odd pages and I just kept going, it was great. We had a lot of previous England players come in a couple camps ago. They told us about their story and how they were involved in England… that was really eye-opening for what they’ve achieved in their careers at that time and how it’s changed from what it was then to what it is now. They’ve changed the game for us.’
Hampton is clearly desperate to play for her country and the potential for her to be a future star for the Lionesses is there for all to see. But to realise that dream, she must work with Villa to put the issues that arose last weekend behind her. There needs to be a reconciliation at club level before the goalkeeper can attempt to regain the trust of her England manager.
Hampton perhaps has the best distribution of the goalkeepers available to Sarina Wiegman