Stanway: My heart and head are at Bayern

The lives of many of England’s Euros heroes have changed forever but none more so than Georgia Stanway.

While team-mates were still celebrating their success, Stanway was sitting at home packing her bags for another huge adventure – her move to Bayern Munich. She was in Germany less than a week after that famous night at Wembley.

“I’ve been here for three weeks and it feels like I’ve been here forever,” Stanway exclusively told Sky Sports News from Bayern’s training ground.

“I obviously celebrated for a few days with the girls, felt a little worse for wear and then arrived in Munich on the Sunday ready to go for the Monday morning.

“I love it. It’s something I wanted to do and something I needed to do. I’ve spent three weeks with a smile on my face and nothing’s going to change that, I’m so happy to be here. Let’s get this international break out of the way and then we’re into the real stuff.”

Sara Dabritz and Georgia Stanway fight for possession
Image: Stanway started every game for England at Euro 2022, including the final against Germany

Many were surprised when Stanway decided to leave Manchester City after seven years to move to Bayern.

Not many English players have made the move to the Bundesliga with clubs in France, USA and Spain more traditional options. But for Stanway, it was a no-brainer.

“I was in a situation where I wanted to put myself out of my comfort zone, challenge myself and pose the question “how good could I be?”.

“I’ve not questioned anything, which to me is a big deal. I could have got here, panicked and questioned why I’m here but this is such a special environment. The people are so special, there’s a togetherness and a culture that just draws me in.

“The decision for me wasn’t as hard as what it may have seemed because I knew I was set to go somewhere else to try something new.

“I had to make sure this was the right place for me on and off the field and so far it’s lived up to expectations.

Georgia Stanway was already enjoying a solid performance in midfield before popping up with a stunning winner
Image: Stanway’s goal in extra-time earned England victory in a tense quarter-final against Spain

Stanway was arguably City’s best performer during a difficult season and she admits there were frustrations towards the end of her time at the club.

The main thing the 23-year-old wanted to avoid was stagnation.

“If I’m being honest, over the last 15-18 months at Manchester City I was at a standstill,” she said.

“I was getting played in any position, I wasn’t able to make a position my own. I was classed as “versatile”, which isn’t something I wanted to be.

“You know me, I’ll do a job for the team and go out there wholeheartedly and do whatever the team needs me to do but I just wasn’t as happy as I knew I could be.

“I wanted to put myself in a position where I didn’t know how good I could be. At City I was in a comfortable position, I was turning up to training every day for seven years and I just wanted a change.”

This off-season has been a transformative one for her former club with Lucy Bronze and Caroline Weir leaving for Spain, Ellen White and Jill Scott retiring and Barcelona putting in two bids for Keira Walsh, who is out of contract next summer.

Stanway said: “It was timing, everyone wanted to try something new at the same time. If you look at the players that are leaving or want to leave they are players that have been there a long time.

“It’s one of them where, not that things are getting boring, but you’re experiencing the same thing over and over again. You go in, you train, have breakfast, you rest, you go home… everything’s the same but you never know what you can achieve until you put yourself out there.”

Stanway really put herself out there when she performed ‘Sweet Caroline’ to her new team-mates as her initiation song. The moment went viral but was exceptionally well received by the squad.

She said: “There was only one song I was going to sing. Initially, I went into the room and I wasn’t going to sing that but two people egged me on and others sang it in the background and I thought “this has to happen”.

“I went up and I just went for it. The girls took it so well, a few of them were rubbing the salt but soon enough everyone had their hands in the air and were loving it.

“It went a little bit bigger on social media than I imagined but off the back of an incredible few weeks and being able to lift that trophy there was only one thing I was going to do and that was credit England.”

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Upon her arrival at Bayern Munich, Georgia Stanway made a brave song choice for her initiation, following England’s triumph over Germany at Euro 2022

Her performance did get her into trouble with a fellow Lioness though.

Stanway said: “I got a text straightaway from Lucy Bronze and it said “I’ve just had to sing Sweet Caroline because of you”, which tickled me.”

Life in Germany has started well for Stanway. Not even the potential awkwardness of beating some of your new colleagues in a major final has been a barrier to acceptance.

“There’s so much respect because of the final itself,” she said. “England vs Germany was something we wanted from the start, the Bayern girls were even cheering me on when I scored against Spain.

“It was football recognising football. To me it was the two best teams in the tournament had to be in that final and fortunately for our case, there was only one winner.”

Only one problem remains for the midfielder, getting used to a new language.

She said: “I’m really struggling. I’ve had three lessons but I’m going to need three thousand.”

Not even that can wipe the smile off Stanway’s face. A Euros win, a move abroad and Champions League football has got her buzzing.

Stanway said: “I didn’t want to experience a comedown, I just wanted to get the ball rolling again.

“We’re fortunate to have a Christmas break, which is something I’ll look forward to for a break from football but now my heart and head is at Bayern.”

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