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Sandy MacIver relishing opportunity to head to Tokyo Olympics

The Everton goalkeeper was a torchbearer before London 2012.

Sandy MacIver is relishing the possibility of heading to the Tokyo Olympics with Great Britain this summer – nine years after being a torch carrier.

At the age of 13, MacIver took part in the torch relay ahead of the London 2012 Games as it went through Chester.

Currently a member of the first England squad selected by interim boss Hege Riise, the goalkeeper hopes to also be included in the GB party for the Tokyo Olympics, of which Riise is set to be either manager or assistant boss.

Regarding being in the torch relay in 2012, MacIver said at a virtual press conference ahead of England's friendly against Northern Ireland next week: "How it came about was I think I had a friend at high school at the time who thought as a joke it would be a good idea to just put my name forward.

"I think at each stage, they would narrow the group down and I kept getting an email saying I had made it through to the next stage. And at some point I thought 'I should probably show my dad this'.

"He didn't believe that I had been chosen, so we had to make a few calls. I actually have the torch hanging up next to me here."

The flame was passed between MacIver and Russia's four-time Olympic champion swimmer Alexander Popov, and MacIver said: "I didn't realise at the time who I was passing it to, but I read up afterwards, and what a great athlete Alex was."

The Everton player added: "I think the chance of going to an Olympics is huge. To be able to go to an event like that would be incredible."

While she has been a part of previous England squads, MacIver is still yet to win her first senior cap.

The 22-year-old is among a youthful trio of goalkeepers called up for the Northern Ireland match, alongside Manchester City's Ellie Roebuck, 21, and Birmingham's Hannah Hampton, 20. Roebuck has five caps, while Hampton is another player yet to make her Lionesses debut.

MacIver said: "I think with the current situation with the goalkeepers for England, everyone has got just as good a chance as everyone else, and when you see there is a number one shirt up for grabs, it does make things more exciting.

"I've worked with Ellie for a number of years in the youth age groups and am just starting to work with Hannah now, and I think the fact we all get on so well off the pitch really helps the training sessions and how we work on the pitch.

"Having Ellie and Hannah with me is great. I think they have had different experiences from what I've had, and I think together we'll be able to support each other and push each other on.

"Ultimately at the end of the day, whoever plays in any game is always going to have the support of the other two."

Having been in Everton's youth ranks, then spent a year with Manchester City before having a spell with American university side Clemson Tigers, MacIver rejoined the Toffees in January 2020.

Both she and Roebuck produced impressive displays when Everton were beaten 3-1 by City after extra time in November's Women's FA Cup final.

England face Northern Ireland on Tuesday at St George's Park, the hosts' first international fixture since last March.

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