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Walsh: We shouldn’t fear anyone

PRESS CONFERENCE: Keira Walsh addresses the media ahead of the game...

PRESS CONFERENCE: Keira Walsh addresses the media ahead of the game...

Keira Walsh asserted City need only focus on themselves, ahead of the Blues Champions League quarter-final clash with Linkoping.

Nick Cushing’s side host the Swedish champions at the Academy Stadium in the first leg of the last eight tie, having never met previously.

City reached the semi-finals of the competition at the first attempt last year – falling at the hands of the eventual competition winners in Lyon – and the young midfielder insists her side have the quality and belief to raise eyebrows once again, if they showcase what they have learned from previous experience.

“Coming into this season’s Champions League, we’ve not feared anyone too much,” she stated.

“We’ve tried to concentrate on our own game. We’ve analysed the opposition but it’s more for us about controlling the game and dominating possession.

“In the first leg of the Lyon game, we were probably a bit stand-offish. We gave them a bit too much respect and let them play too much on our home pitch.

“We went to the away leg and showed we can compete. We shouldn’t necessarily be scared of them – we can compete and take a win from their home ground.”

The quarter-final encounters herald the return of a familiar face for City as Sweden international Kosovare Asllani will line-up against her former Club.

READ: City v Linkoping team news

WATCH: Cushing eyes European reaction

Walsh is relishing the chance to compete against her old teammate.

“She was a great player and person to have in and around the squad,” she added. “From training with her, I know she’s very feisty – she’s not afraid to put a tackle in – but she’s also got a lot of quality on the ball.

“She showed in the Lyon game here that she does step up in the big games. I won’t be expecting any less from her.”

The past few months have been unforgettable for Walsh, who received her first call-up to England’s senior squad in November, aged just 20.

Having already achieved so much with the Blues since making her debut at 17, the youngster has become an integral member of the squad but – ever humble – is keen to remain grounded.

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“I try to take it all in my stride and not think about it too much,” she continued. “I don’t want to get it in my head too much or get ahead of myself. I like to keep my feet on the ground.

“I train with some of England’s best players every day. When I do play against the big players, I try to focus on my own game and the players around me – I know what they’re capable of and what this team is capable of.

“When I’m sat in the changing room before the game, I like to chill out and relax – not really focusing on what the other team has to bring too much.”

Tickets for City's home leg quarter-final tie with Linkoping (Wednesday 21 March, 7pm) are on sale and are available to buy online via tickets.mancity.com or at the Etihad Stadium Ticket Office.

Women's Team

City v Linkoping: Injury news

PRESS CONFERENCE: Nick Cushing and Keira Walsh address the media ahead of the game...

Nick Cushing revealed Dutch international Tessel Middag is back in contention for City’s Champions League quarter-final clash with Linkoping.

The midfielder had been side-lined for ten months with a cruciate ligament injury but returned to match action with a first half cameo for the Development Squad a week ago.

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Women's Team

Emslie: I dreamed of playing in Europe

A DREAM IN MY HEART: Claire Emslie says she still has to pinch herself to believe she plays Champions League football

Claire Emslie says there is ‘no better feeling’ than stepping out under the floodlights on a European night with City.

The Blues are back in Champions League action, after a four-month break, hosting Swedish outfit Linkoping in the first of a two-legged quarter-final tie on Wednesday night.