Gemma Bonner has enjoyed an unforgettable few weeks for Club and country.
The defender, who joined City last summer from Liverpool, helped the Blues to Continental Cup Final success to lift her first piece of silverware with Nick Cushing’s side, before then jetting off to America to aid England’s historic SheBelieves Cup triumph.
Having made the move from Merseyside to Manchester with the hope of reigniting her international career, Bonner – now a regular in City’s starting XI – is already benefitting from her switch, delighted with her rapid development.
Rewarded for her efforts, she earned a recall to the Lionesses squad for the first time since November 2017 – and the timing could not have been more perfect with the World Cup a matter of months away.
We caught up with the 27-year-old to reflect on an intense but exciting season, and potentially pivotal period in her career…
“It’s been a crazy few weeks. We were delighted with the Continental Cup win and it was a great experience being away with England again, especially as were successful as well.
“I’ve really enjoyed every minute of it. When I joined City, I’d always said it was an aim of mine: to get back in contention for England selection and I’m delighted that it happened.
“We didn’t find out the squad too long before the tournament but I was so happy to be back involved. I hadn’t worked with Phil Neville before but he watches a lot of Club games and he said it would be a real opportunity for me and it was great to finally work with him.
“It was a good experience but I can’t stop now – I have to keep working hard, doing what I’ve been doing for City week in, week out. Then hopefully, I can stay in the squad.
“It’s a big year ahead with the World Cup coming up, and every player will be in the same situation – doing all they can to get in.
“For me, being at City has definitely helped me to improve as a player. Hopefully, I can continue to push on and do everything I can to be on that plane.
“The Conti Cup success has been a real boost – both for me and the Club. I know it’s a special trophy for City being the first one that the club won – and for us it was the first trophy available to us this season.
“We went into the game against Arsenal, knowing that if we performed to our best, we would come away with a result. We showed that in our performance – from the first minute all the way through to the penalty shoot-out – and we fully deserved to come away with a trophy.
“It’s given us a lift and hopefully, we can push on now in the league and FA Cup too. We’re still unbeaten domestically and although we were all disappointed to drop out of the Champions League so early, it motivated us even more to be successful.
“Since then, we haven’t been beaten. Although we have dropped a few points which we were disappointed with, we have learnt a lot as a squad and we’re in a good place at the moment. Hopefully, we will be able to finish the season as strongly as possible.
“Being at City, you’re expected to win trophies but we just have to focus on winning each game, and see where it gets us. It’s going to be tough in the title race but we play Arsenal in the last game of the season so if we do all we can to pick up points in each game, we’ll give ourselves a fighting chance and it could well be back in our hands come the end of the season, if they drop points.
“There’s the FA Cup to look forward to as well. We play Liverpool in the quarter-finals on Sunday (17 March) and although we’re not looking too far ahead, I think it is probably every players dream of winning a cup final at Wembley Stadium which adds even more motivation for these games.
“For me personally, I’ve experienced losing the Final quite a few times and I want to be on the winning side of an FA Cup Final at Wembley.
“Of course, Liverpool are a team close to my heart – I was there for a long time and I have some great memories. There have been a lot of changes at the Club since I left and it will be good to catch up with a few familiar faces but I’m definitely hoping for a win to put us into the next round.
“We just have to continue to be hard to beat. We know we can score goals and create chances but we have to be ruthless with teams. There is real capability in the whole squad – not just the players on the pitch; we have the ability to change things from the bench too. It is a very competitive squad which I think is a real strength and is what will get us over the line.
“With the squad we have, I really believe that if we perform to our best, we can win more silverware.”
City are back in action on Wednesday night with an FA Women’s Super League trip to Reading (7:30pm kick-off, Adams Park). Follow the action live on Twitter @ManCityWomen.