In the Spotlight | Amber Hughes

Women’s first-team striker Amber Hughes dissects the centre-forward position before delving into the future to predict what her career, Wolves Women and women’s football could look like in five years’ time.

Positional play

Did you always want to be a striker?

For most of my career I’ve been a winger, it was only when I came to Wolves and Macca asked me where I wanted to play that I decided to be a striker. It’s only been since I came to Wolves where I’ve been an out and out striker.  

What is the best part of being a striker?

It allows me to be more creative and direct. I used to like being on the wing, but now being more central means you’re closer to the goal and I think it actually suits my playing style a lot better.

What is the hardest part of being a striker?

Because you are more central, it can sometimes feel like you’re isolated. Depending on the formation that we’re playing and the formation that the opposition are playing, sometimes you’re just the one up top and you’ve got to try and make it stick, regardless of how many people are around you and that can be quite difficult, but I think being able to make it stick is something I’ve improved in my game.

What qualities are needed to be a striker?

I think patience and perseverance. A lot of people think that strikers have got to score and have got to score now, but it’s a case of patience. You might have a couple of chances that you miss, but you’ve always got to be ready for the next one to happen. It’s a case of persevering and making sure the next one counts.

What do you work on most as a striker?

We do a lot of work on movement, phases of play – if someone has the ball here, where should I be? It’s really important I have that in my mind so when you are in the game, you can bring it in. Also finishing. The end of most sessions will be a finishing session, just hitting the back of the net as much as you can.

What other position would you like to play?

I’d probably just go back to the wing. The 10 and the eight in midfield, I’d just get lost and I’d be running around all over the place. Just up top or on the wing, no further back for me!

What is the hardest other position to play?

I would say midfield as an eight. They’re expected to be everywhere, up and down. I’ve played there before and you’ve got to watch everybody else as well as yourself and I found it a really difficult game to play. I’d find that the hardest to play, but luckily, we’ve got players who can play it really well.

Which other strikers do you watch and learn from?

There’s no-one I really watch, but for the young girls coming up now, they’ve got the likes of Beth Mead, Ella Toone, Alessia Russo, the kind of players who hold the ball up well but will also create something for themselves.

In five years’ time…

Personal achievements

I’d like to win promotion with Wolves. How it’s fell for us in terms of winning the league and not getting promoted and then not winning the league by goal difference, I think we’ve been there, and not quite done it, but we’re a team that deserves to be in the Championship and be successful there.

Wolves’ future

The club’s got the backing, the finances and everything around it to warrant being in the Championship, so promotion for all of us is the aim. Once you’ve been there for a few years, you get a bit more exposure, there’s no reason we can’t push on. We’ve got quality players and quality facilities to get up there and stay in the Championship.

Hopes for the women’s game

To keep going as it is. It’s obviously getting a lot more exposure, a lot more excitement around it and you go to games now and you’ve got girls waiting for your signatures. I’ve played the game a long, long time and it’s not always been like that. You’ve walked off the pitch and there’s not enough people to ask for your signature – it’s just friends and family. The World Cup and the Euros have helped and it’s going in the right direction, but we still need to improve further at club level.

Changes to women’s football

At times, it’s difficult to get supporters in because games clash with the men’s teams. If the men are playing at 2pm on a Sunday, the same time we always play, we know we’re not going to get as many fans as we’d normally get. We’ve been lucky to play at Molineux a couple of times, but the more we can play there the better as it will give the team more exposure from fans who would travel there but not Telford and would continue to build the fan base.

Remembering the current Wolves team

Just a really hardworking and together group. We always talk about that and say that’s what will get us through games, regardless of the opponents. We will always work hard together as a team, and sometimes that shines through over quality. We’re a close-knit group who want the best for each other. We’re not individuals, we’re a team and a pack.

This article originally featured in Wolves' official 2023/24 matchday programme. Last season's programmes are still available to purchase online through retailers Curtis Sports