Karen Bardsley has hailed Manchester City’s coaches for the career-changing guidance on her journey to becoming a world-class modern goalkeeper.
City’s number one showcased her ability between the sticks on the biggest stage once again in England’s 2-0 victory over Japan in Wednesday’s Women’s World Cup group game.
The 34-year-old made two incredible saves that proved decisive to earn her a much-deserved clean sheet.
The FA Cup and Continental Cup winner hailed her goalkeeper coach Chris Williams in aiding her development.
She said: “At Manchester City, my goalkeeper coach has certainly helped my game to evolve from the old school style to a modern style of goalkeeping.
"Perhaps that is happening in other countries."
Bardsley joined City in November 2013 and has seen the progression in building from the back. She added that a passing style of play is integral at City but is not pushed to the extremities.
“I’ve been playing at City for five or six years now and we obviously want to build from the back but we’re not going to take super risks,” she said.
The California-born shot-stopper also recognised the need for her City team-mate Keira Walsh to control the tempo of England’s game as she gets targeted by opponents.
“When Keira is getting marked by three people, she’s probably not going to get on the ball that much,” Bardsley continued.
“It’s about managing the game, managing momentum. Of course, we want to build, we want to play nice possession football.”
With the Women’s World Cup award for the most clean sheets over the campaign - the Golden Glove - up for contention, City’s goalkeeper already has one clean sheet to her name and is hoping for more.
However, Bardsley is unfazed by the individual awards and has revealed her ruthless competitive streak which in the past has helped to claim numerous trophies while at City.
She admitted: “I’m not fussed about [personal] awards. I just want a medal and a trophy. I just want to win a medal round my neck.”
The shot-stopper has been enjoying her time at the World Cup and disclosed her loyalty to the ‘goalkeeper’s union’.
“There are outstanding goalkeepers [at the World Cup], [with] fantastic reaction saves," she reflected.
"You look at the Argentinian [goalkeeper, Vanina Correa] who was outstanding - you have got to give credit where it is due. She made some phenomenal saves. I was impressed.”
The City number one has the remainder of the World Cup in front of her along with her City teammates. They will be hoping to bring the World Cup home to the blue side of Manchester.
Jake Stokes is a Football Journalism student at the University of Derby who are reporting on the Women’s World Cup from France.