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Sunderland have got off to a fine start in the National Division after promotion last season, with only one defeat in the opening seven games.
For Jill Scott and Steph Houghton, it has been a busy week which has seen them help England under-19 into the next phase of the UEFA Under-19 Championships before appearing for their club in their 1-1 draw with Bristol Academy.
"I think we played really at times," Jill told Women's Soccer Scene. "The second half was end to end. We were a bit unfortunate about their goal, because we felt the ball wasn't over the line, but obviously the linesman gave it so we can't really complain. But to come away from home and get a point is good."
"A lot of teams have underestimated us," adds Steph, "but we're playing really well as a team. We're defending well and trying to hit teams on the break and it's all going well so far. We all fight for each other, to win every ball and we all pull together.
"I felt a bit tired in the second half but the team kept pushing us on and everybody else was keeping each other going, we did well in the end."
England finished top of their group after a successful week, and Jill paid tribute to her team mates and the way they approached the matches. "Everybody stuck together on and off the pitch, the team spirit was really good and we transferred that onto the pitch," she says," and it couldn't have gone any better last week."
"We played very well, scoring 17 and conceding none," says Steph. "There was a lot of emphasis on a team ethic, so it all went very well for us."
Jill was particularly pleased about winning the final game 3-0 against Scotland, which confirmed England as group winners. "It's always good to get a win against Scotland!" she smiles. "We played well, stuck to the game plan, worked as a team and got the points and another clean sheet."
Now England have their sights set on the next qualifying phase, to be played in April. Jill is confident that a settled England squad can make a second successive appearance in the Finals. "We only lost three players (from the summer) which is a big bonus as it means we've got a lot of experience, "she admits. "We haven't needed to go back to the drawing board so we've been lucky this year, and it's all starting to come together."
Steph also feels that England can make an impact, saying: "We've sorted out a few problems from Hungary and if we stick together and play together we can go one better. It's looking good for us, I think.
"It's important that we are confident to get through the next group. While I hope for a good draw, I think we'll get through to Switzerland."
For Jill, the week was extra special as she was the player who captained England through the next stage. "To be named as captain is absolutely great. I couldn't think of anything better - absolutely brilliant, no words could describe it," she admits.
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