Proud fathers overwhelmed with emotion at daughters’ reaction to Lionesses

The proud dads ‘loved’ seeing their daughters’ reactions to the Lionesses, with one hoping to see his five-year-old play for Liverpool in the future.

Matthew Hicks, 46, Manchester’s IT manager, is the father of ‘little footballer’ Olivia, five, who has been playing football ‘on and off’ since nursery.

He told the PA news agency: “She’s only just started at (Middleton Lads and Girls Football Club) but has won a lot of medals.

I hope one day she will be in the stands with me at Anfield and play professionally for the ladies of Liverpool

Matthew Hicks

“Hopefully she does well enough to play in the leagues later this year.

“I don’t put pressure on her but I admit that I like that she is so interested in football, but I am aware that children change their minds.

“I try to find a shirt or polo shirt from England in his size and wherever he is sold so you can see how popular he is.

“I hope one day she will be in the stands with me at Anfield and play professionally for the ladies of Liverpool.”

Olivia Hicks with a football medal (Matthew Hicks/PA)

Mr Hicks said being able to watch the games for free on TV will “hopefully inspire the next generation”.

“I told Olivia there’s no reason she can’t be a footballer, she can watch TV and see that I’m telling the truth.”

He said they will watch the final on Sunday and “whatever happens with the final result, I’m sure Olivia will want to have fun with me afterwards.”

Mark Rayner, 40, a mental health nurse from Newcastle, said he became “emotional” seeing the impact the Women’s Euros had on his daughter, Clara-Jane, seven.

Honestly, as a father of a daughter, it makes me emotional when I see the impact this has, not only on Clara, but on the community at large.

Marc Rayner

“Honestly, as a father of a daughter, it makes me emotional when I see the impact this has, not just on Clara, but on the community at large.

“It has raised the profile of the women’s game, especially in the younger generation.

“She wants to play it at school now and asked if we could go to a women’s game,” he said.

“When I was watching the men’s game, she was always a bit interested, but seeing other girls playing football made her a lot more engaged.

“She asked a lot of questions about the players and who they play for etc.”

The Women’s Euro final will take place at Wembley on Sunday July 31, when England take on Germany.

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