24/09/2012 05:22 BST | Updated 02/10/2012 11:45 BST

Women's Football England Captain Casey Stoney On Inequalities And Changing 'The Women's Game Forever' (INTERVIEW)

"Every time there is an England game it should be advertised, like it was in the Olympics," says England and Team GB captain Casey Stoney.

Seven weeks after a Wembley crowd of 70,584 witnessed a 1-0 GB victory over Brazil at London 2012, England qualified for next summer’s European Championship in Sweden last week after a comfortable 3-0 win over Croatia at Walsall’s Bescot Stadium.

Chances are, you missed it make the headlines.

A Uefa-enforced 5pm kick-off saw just 5,821 spectators turn out to support England, in what was a crucial qualifier and in which Stoney scored a third late in the match.

Casey Stoney (No. 6) celebrates scoring the third goal during the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 Group 6 Qualifie

As England captain and a player for FA WSL club Lincoln Ladies, Stoney is leading the charge for more equality between men and women's football: "I'd like to get past the basic thing where it is compared to men's football and instead it is spoken about in terms of performance.

"The media should be showing results and having highlights packages and not just when it is the Olympics, but every time there is an England game."

Stoney, who has been capped more than 100 times for the England women's team since making her debut in 2000, has been suffering - like the rest of us - a post-Olympics come down recently: "Coming off such a high is very hard to get over."

"We'd never had a football team in it before and for us to be part of it was huge, to be captain of that team is probably the biggest honour that I'll ever reach in my career," explains the versatile defender, who joined Chelsea Ladies at the age of 12 and has gone on to pave the way for girls in the game.

Team GB: (back row left to right) Ifeoma Dieke, Jill Scott, goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, Casey Stoney, Stephanie Houghton and Kelly Smith (front row left to right) Kim Little, Anita Asante, Alex Scott, Eniola Aluko and Karen Carney.

Describing the euphoric moment at the Games that made all the front pages, Stoney says: "When the final whistle went against Brazil at Wembley and we won 1-0 and there were over 70,000 people, that is the biggest highlight.

"Walking out to the cheers was overwhelming. I've been to a hell of a lot of men's games at Wembley, when it's been sold out and I've never heard an atmosphere like it in my life, whether it was Olympic fever or the fact we were playing Brazil I'm not sure, but it was incredible."

Stoney knows she may never hear that sound again, but thinks now it is about looking at the consequences of such an achievement.

"It's just changed a lot of perceptions and the bigger picture is that people now say 'my little girl wants to play football because of you', and that for me is what it's all about, the legacy - and hopefully it will change the women's game forever."

Casey Stoney (centre) is congratulated by her team mates after scoring the opening goal of the game on day one of the Olympics at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.

So what changes need to be a made? For a start, we could begin paying players a wage that they are able to live off of.

"I went to see a mortgage adviser earlier... We don't get any money," says Stoney - this would be an unheard-of statement from her male equivalents.

The average wage of a Premier League footballer is about £1.2m and at the top end the £10m barrier will be routinely broken.

"I'd love to get a sponsor of some sort to come forward. I think people assume because you play football you get lots of money but that's the complete opposite for female footballers, we have to work for a living, a lot of the girls work part time or full time jobs."

I question her over the likes of Olympics stars Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Ennis and their lucrative advertising deals with beauty brands such as Pantene and Olay respectively - why isn't the Team GB women's football captain supported in the same way?

Maybe it has something to do with the perception of women who play football - the word 'butch' is often banded around, the phrase 'poster girls' is not.

Stoney seems to agree: "I think it's disappointing, I don't know if it's the football kit but I can assure you the girls are athletes.

"If they put on an athletes uniform they'd look no different to Jessica Ennis or an athlete, it shouldn't be prejudice. I think the image is changing and I think perceptions are changing. If you watch the girls play you'll see, we are girls that play football."

Casey Stoney during the London 2012 kitting out session at Loughborough University.

Asides from pay, there is the issue of a lack of media support of the game, Stoney is of the 'build it and they will come' school of thought.

"We do need more media coverage, the Olympics showed that when you put it on the right stage we outsold the men. That says it all.

"So if you market it enough then people will come and watch. I think media coverage needs to improve but it's getting there. It's all going in the right direction, whether we'll see a complete change in three years I'm not sure, but I'm happy things are moving forwards."

Despite the game not always getting the attention it deserves, Stoney is clearly thrilled to be doing what she dreamed about: "Competing and being part of a team is what I absolutely love, I'm really really lucky to do this for a living."

After a friendly in October, the England team break for November and December: "We're looking forward to a little break and getting off our feet so we can regenerate again, next January we start pre-season."

Here's hoping 2013 brings big audiences and all the support our women's team deserves.

Casey Stoney can be found playing in The FA Women's Super League for Lincoln Ladies. Please visit for player information and league fixtures.