Lionesses’ Win Has A Molineux Link
We mentioned Peter Zelem and his famous niece a year and a half ago on here and consider England’s latest win at the women’s World Cup to be high time we provide some kind of update.
Katie Zelem is hugely prominent in the sport as Manchester United captain, which leaves us in no doubt as to which side of the fence she will be on when the Premier League campaign opens this coming weekend!
But her international career has so far lagged some way behind a club one that has brought her a part in three League title triumphs across her years with Liverpool and Juventus.
On top of that, she is heading for the Champions League in 2023-24 following United’s runners-up finish in both the league and FA Cup in the spring.
The final of the latter, against Chelsea at Wembley, attracted a crowd of 77,390, which was a world record for a women’s domestic club game….now Katie’s involvement in international football might be about to take off as well.
She went on as a late extra-time substitute in the Lionesses’ fortunate shoot-out success over Nigeria in Brisbane today and, although she didn’t take any of the penalties for which she was seen as a strong contender, she is tasting more and more of the highs under manager Sarina Wiegman.
She described herself as the unlucky 24th player when the squad for last summer’s glorious Euros campaign was whittled down to its final 23, then she missed out on selection for a pre-tournament training camp this spring and so had a major question mark placed over her participation in the trip Down Under.
The 27-year-old said she was spurred to work even harder after her Euros disappointment and was ‘really excited’ about the prospect of going to her first major international tournament.
Now, having previously had to pull out of another St George’s Park get-together after testing positive for covid, she has re-emerged strongly and was the chosen replacement from the start for injured midfielder Keira Walsh in the 6-1 slaughter of China in the final Group D game.
With another senior cap added today to a tally that has crept into double figures, she is clearly very much in Wiegman’s thoughts for further participation beyond the substitutes’ bench.
Central defender Peter Zelem made 54 first-team appearances when serving Wolves in their dark mid-1980s days and appears to have sadly slipped out of contact with us in recent years. We would love to hear from anyone who can reconnect him with us, especially if they know he has been in Australia watching his niece and her team-mates.
Peter’s twin brother, Alan, who is Katie’s father, played in goal for Macclesfield against Telford at Wembley in the 1989 FA Trophy final.
We noticed that England’s latest victims had an Esther Okoronkwo on their substitutes’ bench, although there is no immediate sign of there being any family connection with the Nigerian international defender, Isaac Okoronkwo, who joined Wolves following the rise to the Premier League under Dave Jones in 2003.
*We are delighted to be able to share good news with those readers who missed the BBC footage showing John Richards’s presentation of the Wolves hall of fame award to Joe Gardiner’s family last week. Please revisit our ‘TV Captures Tribute To Gentleman Joe’ feature from last Tuesday as there is now a link to the film at the end of the third paragraph, with kind courtesy of the BBC and Martin Lindsay.