Manchester United winger Leah Galton has revealed she has no intention of making herself available for England selection ahead of the 2023 Women’s World Cup this summer.
Galton scored twice for United against Brighton on Saturday to keep the club top of the WSL table and inch closer to the dream of Champions League qualification and potentially the league title.
Those goals were her seventh and eighth in the WSL this season, drawing the 28-year-old level with teammate Alessia Russo – only Rachel Daly and Khadija Shaw have scored more. Galton’s four assists also put her on 12 goal involvements, the most of any United player in the league so far.
Three of those goals have come at Old Trafford, the Etihad Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, underlining big game credentials, while Galton was also named Barclays WSL Player of the Month for December and the club’s player of the month for February.
That kind of form would usually make an international call-up an obvious reward, but that is still not something Galton wants to entertain after spending the last few years putting her personal needs and her club game at the forefront of her focus.
“I’m not going away and travelling on international camps so I have time off and time to be a normal person in a sense. I can go away with my family and have overnight stays with them,” the player told BBC Sport. “That’s where I’m getting the balance right.
“It worries me a little bit that if I change that, I wouldn’t have that balance. It’s always nice to hear England are asking where my head is at because you can see the talents of those players and to be compared to that is nice. But I’m so happy right now doing what I’m doing.”
Galton was called up for an England training camp in 2016 by former manager Mark Sampson but was forced to withdraw due to injury. She had impressed with the Under-23 squad at that time and was playing her club football in the United States with Sky Blue (now NJ/NY Gotham).
But shortly after returning to Europe to sign with Bayern Munich midway through the 2017/18 season, Galton decided to take a break from her football career after starting to struggle mentally.
After a few months out of the game, she was recruited by then Manchester United manager Casey Stoney for the club’s newly reformed first-team and slowly began to ‘fall back in love’ with football in the words of the ex-Red Devils boss.
“Since joining the club we have been working collaboratively with her to create an environment where she can be happy and enjoy her football again and as I’ve said previously, I believe she is one of the best wingers in the country,” Stoney said in 2019 when Galton’s form prompted interest from then England manager Phil Neville, to which the player asked not to be selected.
“Playing for your national team is something that Leah and other players dream of. However, I am strong on a player’s needs coming first and seeing them as human beings.”
Galton has remained a hugely important player for Manchester United throughout the last five years, recently becoming only the fourth to reach 100 appearances for the club.
She reiterated her choice shortly before Euro 2022, explaining to The Guardian: “I want people to know that it’s not anything to do with the setup or the girls. It’s more about me having my own time and having a break when everyone else goes around national duty, I need that time to myself.
“It’s something I have noted in my life that I need. Otherwise, I get too stuck into work mode. Then I start not enjoying it.”