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Duggan: SheBelieves Cup will ready us for big year

RACE: Toni Duggan escapes her marker

RACE: Toni Duggan escapes her marker

Manchester City Women’s forward Toni Duggan is looking forward to using next month’s SheBelieves Cup to further her preparations for the upcoming challenges with City.

Duggan is one of eight City players named in England’s squad for the tournament with the United States, Germany and France and the 25-year-old can’t wait for the experience.

She said: “Playing against three of the top teams in the world, you can’t get better preparation than that for the Euros. It’s a massive year for the girls but hopefully, we can put all of our hard work in pre-season (both for England and City) into action on the international stage against top players.

“They’re going to be tough games. I loved last year because each opponent is different but world-class in their own right.

“They’re the games top players want to be playing in. The more you can play against top teams for club or country, the better you will be as a player and a person.

“Whatever the result, you can learn. Last year was a tough test for us but we came away having learned a lot about ourselves and the team.”

With City already in the final eight of the Champions League and the Spring Series and European Championships to come, Duggan is set for a major year in her career.

“The only way you can replicate playing in the latter stages of the Euros with the pressure and a home nation’s crowd supporting their team is by going away to the USA in front of big crowds with big expectations and playing against top players,” said the England forward.

“That’s when you see the character of each individual and whether they can step up when it matters."

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Duggan has already been hard at work, featuring for City in major pre-season friendlies ahead of the Champions League tie with Fortuna Hjorring.

“It’s been a good pre-season as we’ve had a lot of game time. When you’re training and training, it can sometimes be frustrating but we’ve played against top opposition in Potsdam and Frankfurt.

“Leading up to the Champions League quarter-finals, those are the opponents you want to be playing against. Some of the opposition players who are in the latter stages of the Champions League are playing in the SheBelieves Cup.

“It benefits us all - club, country and player - to get used to these top games against top nations. It’s great preparation.”

City's other England representatives are Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton, Demi Stokes, Isobel Christiansen, Jill Scott and Nikita Parris while Carli Lloyd will feature for the United States.

Bronze, Houghton and Lloyd have all been nominated for this year's FIFPro Women's World XI.

The SheBelieves Cup starts on 1 March and we’ll keep you updated throughout on mancity.com and @ManCityWomen on Twitter.

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