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Walsh: A dream in her heart

TRUE BLUE: Keira Walsh is a lifelong City fan

TRUE BLUE: Keira Walsh is a lifelong City fan

It’s every football fans’ dream: to step out onto the hallowed turf at Wembley, donning the shirt of their beloved team.

That dream could become a reality on Saturday as Man City Women face Birmingham in the FA Cup final.

Midfielder Keira Walsh – a lifelong Blue – has the chance to live the fairytale at the national stadium and needless to say, she cannot wait.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” she smiled. “The FA Cup is the only trophy we haven’t been able to get our hands on so far.

“The squad’s feeling good. We’re all feeling confident.

“This competition means a lot to this Club and it would be a really nice feeling to give back to the fans that travel home and away to follow us by bringing the trophy home.

“Wembley is such a big stadium and it will be such as momentous occasion. It would be unbelievable to win it.”

The two sides have locked horns already this season, playing out a 1-1 draw in the Spring Series.

Birmingham are becoming known as one of the most difficult teams to beat and Walsh expects a similar test this weekend.

“It will be a hard game,” she continued. “Birmingham have made some strong signings over the off-season and defensively, they’re very tough to break down.

“We’ve been trying to score more in games, which has showed recently and hopefully, that will happen on the day.”

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A first-team regular despite her youth, Walsh has claimed the defensive midfield role as her own.

Since returning from injury last year, she has been a stalwart in Nick Cushing’s side and scooped the Club’s Rising Star award at the End of Season celebrations in 2016.

Modest and grounded though, the 20-year-old says she is privileged to be learning everyday alongside world-class internationals but is not letting success go to her head.

“It’s all a bit surreal,” she declared. “It all happened so quickly – winning two Continental Tyres Cups and the league title.

“I haven’t had time to sit back and think about my journey or how big the stages have been.

“It’s starting to sink in how much the women’s game is growing. There were 19,000 people in Lyon for the Champions League semi-final.”

Asked how she copes with such high pressure at a young age, Walsh explained: “I try not to think about who we’re playing too much.

“I try to concentrate on my role and let everything else take care of itself.

“The more experienced players help. Steph [Houghton] is a calming influence and since Carli [Lloyd] has come in, everyone has stepped up their game.

“The competition for places has really helped to lift the squad to another level.

“My personal target at the start of the season was to stay fit. I’d missed a fair amount so I wanted to get myself in the best shape and stay injury-free.”


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