A 23-year-old woman from Aylesbury will referee the women’s FA Cup final between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

Sophie Dennington, who attended the Grange Secondary School in the town, revealed that after getting diagnosed with dyslexia as a child, she hopes her journey to running the line in Sunday’s [May 12] Wembley showpiece will be a source of inspiration for others.

It’s been a long 10 years for the ref.

In 2014 at the age of 13, Dennington had the reading and spelling age of a seven-year-old, and she says there were times when she felt like she ‘wasn’t good at anything’.

However, she would go onto pass her GCSEs, get a degree in football coaching and management and pursue a career in officiating that recently saw her take up a role at the Football Association looking after referee progression pathways from grassroots to semi-professional.

Dennington has refereed in the Women’s Championship and been an assistant in Women’s Super League, Champions League and Euros qualifying matches.

Speaking ahead of today’s final, she said: “I hope they just see a 23-year-old girl running the line at Wembley who’s not let anything stop her, what people have said – that if you want to do something, you need to give it 100 per cent and you can get there.

“I think, especially for a female game, sold out, an all-female refereeing team, for girls it just shows if you see it you can believe it.”

Dennington, who started refereeing aged 15, said she was in year five at school when she first thought her struggles with words related to dyslexia, and that she was subsequently diagnosed in year eight.

She says having been told at school “don’t bother looking at sixth form because you’re not going to get the GCSEs”, she thought 'who are you to tell me what I’m going to do with my life?'

And she said: “I used that as motivation – ‘you’re not going to stop me from getting what I want’.

“I couldn’t write half a page in English in year 8 and 9.

“However, I wrote a 10,000-word dissertation, and I was two marks off a first. So it’s like – actually you can do anything if you put your mind to it.”

“It’s ‘I have dyslexia, or I have something else, it’s never going to go away, so I need to embrace it’. You need to be confident within yourself.”