A young footballer from Sudbury was 'amazed' to find out she had been selected by the academy of one of the world's best women's football teams.

Sophie Brown O'Shea was recently selected by Arsenal Women's academy. Arsenal are considered one of the best women's football teams in the world, having won a record 15 league titles and 14 FA cups.

The current first team includes stars such as Vivianne Miedema, as well as Euro 2022 heroes Beth Mead and Leah Williamson.

Twelve-year-old Sophie, who was born in Spain, has lived in England since she was two, and currently lives in Sudbury.

Before joining Arsenal, she played in the academies of AFC Sudbury, Needham Market and Ipswich Town. She currently also plays for the Suffolk County team.

Sophie said: "I was just amazed really.

"I played well at the trials, but I didn't play as well as I normally do, so I didn't really expect it."

Sophie travels to Hertfordshire three times a week for training and a match on Saturdays. She has been coached by Arsenal and Switzerland midfielder, Granit Xhaka, who also gave her a signed shirt.

Sophie, who is a West Ham fan, said she has been playing football for as long as she can remember.

She said: "I started playing with my dad and then I started playing after school.

"I also went to football camps and when I was eight, I joined a team and played in the boys teams because there wasn't a girls team for me.

"It's really cool to be playing with girls my age from different places, but it is also a bit weird in a way because I've never really been used to that, it's been more playing in boys teams."

Women's football has had a meteoric rise in recent years, with help from the Lionesses winning the Euros in London this Summer.

Sophie said: "That just shows you that it is possible. There are more people to look up to in the sport now."

Sophie's parents, Julian and Sarah, said: "A ball is attached to her all day.

"When we were on holiday in Greece, she walked around with the ball the whole time on the beach, she was wearing her football kit.

"She used to come back from camps and she would say 'I want to be a Lioness' and we said we would support her all the way.

"She is amazing and we are so proud of her."