Former altar girl Nikita Parris is “world class”, England women’s football boss Phil Neville has stated.
The 25-year-old Liverpudlian forward has been showered with praise for her performance in the Women’s World Cup.
Parris, a devout Catholic and former sixth form student at Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School in West Derby, Liverpool, made her Women’s World Cup debut as the Lionesses beat Scotland 2-1 in Nice earlier this month.
Parris marked the occasion with a goal, confidently converting a 14th-minute penalty, and ended up with the player of the match award.
“She’s world class, that’s a given now,’ Neville said of Parris, the FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year.
“She has got to keep scoring goals, she has got to keep improving.”
Parris, who missed out on a place in the England squad as a 21-year-old at the 2015 World Cup, but competed at Euro 2017, admitted to being nervous before making her World Cup debut in front of 13,118 fans at Nice’s Allianz Riviera.
“I’m not going to lie to you. I sat in my hotel room and said to Abbie [McManus] my team-mate, ‘I’ve got butterflies’,” she said.
“It was the first time. I hadn’t experienced a moment like that. But ultimately I stuck with myself and thought – what two things can you bring to the game today? That’s passion, and drive, and all the rest came for me.”
Parris became the Women’s Super League all-time top scorer last season, and in May left Manchester City to join six-time Champions League winners Lyon.
According to The Telegraph, Parris, who blesses herself before every game, still goes to church regularly with her nan.
She previously opened up about her faith, telling The Times: “For me, Catholicism is all about thanking God for what he has given us.”
Picture: England’s Nikita Parris scores her side’s first goal of the game during the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Group D match at the Stade de Nice. (Richard Sellers/PA).