England 1966 World Cup football hero Sir Geoff Hurst says he is unbelievably proud of The Lionesses Women’s 2022 Euro Final win against Germany.

Coach Sarina Wiegman’s team became the first senior England side to win major honours for more than half a century when beating Germany 2-1 in the final of Women’s Euro 2022 in extra-time.

Hurst scored a hat-trick at Wembley in Englands 4-2 win against West Germany 56 years ago. The Lionesses defeated Sweden 4-0 the semi-final on the back of a win over Spain.

“Going into what we thought was a tough game and winning 4-0, that was quite a shock for many people and maybe even the team themselves.

“We started off quite disappointingly in 1966 and, amazingly enough, we got booed off the park in the first game against Uruguay. It was quite a transformation from that to winning it,” said Hurst.

Hurst went from fringe player to star of the World Cup, only coming into the team at the quarter-final stage before scoring his career-defining hat-trick in the final with West Germany.

At the Euros, England Women super-subs Alessia Russo and Ella Toone played a major role.

“They do have some good subs coming on and doing very well. And not just the quality, but the management of the players coming on.

“Of course there is a similarity in one sense in that I didn’t start the tournament but came on and did what I did in the last three games.

“But what’s good about this team is that they’re fighting for places. They’re all keen. The team spirit and camaraderie are fundamental. There’s a similarity there with our time.

“The togetherness is very evident. That is one of the most important issues of any team being successful.

“There will be a huge move forward in focus on women’s football. It will be a tremendous boost in this country.

“It will attract a lot more young girls. In terms of attracting young girls to the game I think getting us to the final will be a big step forward itself.”

The Lionesses’ win came after England’s 4-2 victory over Germany at Wembley Stadium in 1966: “It’s quite an unbelievable coincidence. We played Germany all those years ago and we’re playing Germany, it’s just absolutely astounding.

Sir Geoff Hurst says he is 'unbelievably proud' of The Lionesses
Sir Geoff Hurst says he is ‘unbelievably proud’ of The Lionesses

“To be European Champions I’m unbelievably proud,” said Hurst.

With women’s football breaking into the mainstream how much do top players get paid?

The Women’s Super League, English football’s top domestic competition, salaries can be as low as £20,000 annually in some cases. The average yearly salary in the WSL is £30,000.

Some players are being reportedly priced out of playing professional football, due to the low starting wage and lack of opportunities.

There are other players, however, who have been offered in excess of £300,000 per year.

SportBible report that USA star Carli Lloyd earned more than £432,000 per year before her retirement in August 2021, with Australia and Chelsea star Sam Kerr earning £400,000 a year.

England right-back Lucy Bronze, makes an reported estimated £200,000 a year from club football and has signed endorsement deals with brands Pepsi, EE and Visa.

She is set to join Barcelona after her Manchester City contract expired over the summer.

The WSL features international talent from all around the world, including England, Wales, Scotland, France, Australia and the Netherlands.

The Football Association of Wales has pledged to introduce equal pay for its men and women international players by the end of 2026.

England’s women footballers get paid the same as the men for national team appearances, but general salaries are much lower.

Will Players wages follow?

Despite coming from an era when outstanding talent was much more modestly rewarded, Hurst told me in an Exclusive interview he believes players deserve to earn whatever the market deems them to be worth.

“Take, for example, if you were an electrician earning £30,000 a year, and another company said they wanted you. ‘You’re talented, the best electrician in the world, we will pay you £60,000’.

“That man will move. It’s everybody’s right to better themselves from a job point of view.

“From a financial point of view it is exactly the same in football,” said Hurst.

With regards to the 1966 England squad, Hurst said: “Initially the bonus that was awarded was to the players who played more than the players who didn’t play.

“Within seconds we agreed that the money was to be shared equally – between 22 players.

“We felt genuinely that it’s not 11 players that win the World Cup – it’s the players who don’t kick a ball that add the strength to the team spirit, and camaraderie of the 22-man squad.

“It is a group of people who win the World Cup – over five or six games – not just the 11 players who play in the final.”

England star Lucy Bronze, 30, left Manchester City when her contract expired this summer signing a two-year deal at Barcelona.

“I’m really excited to play for a club like Barcelona, one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“I can’t wait to get into training with the girls. At the end of the season I was already leaving my old club. After a couple of conversations, as soon as I had an offer, I knew that Barca were interested.

“You can’t say no to Barcelona, so I had to come and I’m just really excited.

“The team is already amazing, and aspirations are to win Champions League titles.

“I’m just so happy to be here, can’t wait to play in front of the fans, and make sure we can win trophies together.”

Caption: England right-back Lucy Bronze, £200,000 a year from club football.