City have continued to strengthen with the signing of England defender Gemma Bonner.
The centre-back becomes Nick Cushing’s third signing of the summer, following in the footsteps of Caroline Weir in making the move to Manchester from Merseyside, after a six-year spell at Liverpool.
Versatile, powerful in the air and comfortable in possession, the 26-year-old hopes to reach new heights with City, competing for trophies once again and making her return to Champions League action.
She also aspires to earn regular first-team appearances on the international front with Phil Neville’s England, having progressed through the youth ranks with the Lionesses to the senior squad.
“I’m really excited,” Bonner told ManCity.com. “It’s great to be part of such a special Club, who have been the leading team in the women’s game for a couple of years.
“With the players and the facilities the Club have and the opportunity to play at the top level on a regular basis in all four competitions, on the whole it’s something I want to be part of and I’m excited for it.
“It’s fantastic to be here. When I first came to look around, I was really impressed with the facilities and the visions of the Club. City have shown the way for women’s football, especially for the younger generation, and they’ve really been a leading light. It’s great to see what they’ve been doing on and off the pitch and to be part of it.
GALLERY: Gemma Bonner signs for City
“I loved my time at Liverpool. I was there for six years and I’ll always be grateful for the opportunities I had there – but for my career, I felt I was ready for a new challenge and I feel this is the best place to progress.
“I played quite a lot against City and I was always impressed with the way they played. They’re a very structured and well-organised side and it was always a tough game. I’m looking forward to being on the side of City now and playing football the way I know we can.
“I know a lot of the girls already from international games and from previous clubs. Hopefully, that makes settling in a little bit easier. They’ve all been really positive – they’ve spoken about the quality and intensity of training, and the level of coaching, which is something I feel will take me to the next level. They’re a great group of players and I can’t wait to be part of the team.
“Nick [Cushing] was also really positive about the Club strengthening and I’m happy he wanted to bring me in. Hopefully, I can be part of the continued success.
“I can’t wait to get started.”
Bonner started her career with hometown Club Leeds United, where she helped the Lilywhites to League Cup success in 2010.
Her performances attracted interest from Chelsea and the defender switched to the London outfit in January 2011 ahead of the new Super League campaign. She went on to feature in the 2012 FA Cup Final.
The following November, the opportunity to sign for her favoured Liverpool arose. Bonner returned north and was appointed captain, leading her side to back-to-back league titles in 2013 and 2014.
She joins City with a wealth of experience behind her – both for club and country. Having represented England at youth level for the Under-17, U19s, U20s and U23s, she earned her first senior cap in 2013 and has made ten appearances for the Lionesses’ first-team.
Unfortunately, she missed the latter stages of the 2017/18 campaign through injury but asserts the setback has instilled a new hunger and desire.
“It wasn’t easy getting injured, especially with having to miss games mid-season,” she admitted.
“My focus now is getting back on the pitch and enjoying football again, being in the best shape I can be for City first and foremost and then hopefully for England after that.
“It’s a new motivation for me, coming here. I’m experienced and it’s a new challenge I feel I’m ready for.
“I like to lead by example. I’m not the loudest person off the pitch but I try and do my best in everything.
“I want to win trophies and the Club have competed on a regular basis in all competitions. I want to play at the top level and this is a good place to do that and continue to push on.
“I have the opportunity to keep improving and be successful and I’m excited to be here.”