The inaugural Women’s Football Weekend demonstrates the progress football has made in the past few years, according to City midfielder Georgia Stanway.

The annual FA initiative, announced back in September, will be staged during the men’s international break, allowing fans to spend their weekends on the terraces at a women’s match instead.

City welcome West Ham United to the Academy Stadium, knowing three points in the 12.30 kick-off this Sunday could see them go top of the Women’s Super League.

And after a record 77,768 saw England face Germany at Wembley last week, Stanway feels the Women’s Football Weekend is a perfect way to build on the already rapidly increasing momentum behind the women’s game.

That just showcases the way women’s football is going. It’s not women’s and men’s football, it’s now just football, and weekends like this definitely express that," she said. 

“Whether you’re a football fan or a specific fan of a men’s team you can still watch a game and engage with our sport.”

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Being one of the WSL’s brightest young talents as well as an England regular, Stanway is quickly becoming a household name in the women’s game.

Nonetheless, the 20-year-old still has to pinch herself ever now and then when she considers how far she has come, especially if supporters recognise her.

“I think it’s crazy when you go on social media and there’s a fan with your name on the back of the shirt,” she admitted.

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“It hits us because when you’re in training and games you’re in a bubble and focus on yourself and the team and you can forget what you’re actually doing to the outside world.

“As women’s footballers we’re very humbled in what we receive, the opportunities we get and the journey’s we’ve been on.”

While Stanway remains grounded, it is difficult to ignore how quickly the profile of the women's game has risen in the past few years.

Beyond that record Wembley crowd earlier in November, the WSL attendance record was smashed on the opening day of the season, with 31,000 supporters watching our 1-0 Manchester Derby win at the Etihad Stadium.

And that progress extends to the grassroots level, where the FA's Wildcats initiative has introduced over 1,250 centres across the country devoted to putting on sessions exclusively for girls aged 5-11 years old, offering a gentle transition into the beautiful game.

For Stanway, who played for a boy's team until the age of 13, the recent progress of women's football means she and her teammates, as well as her opponents on the pitch, all share a common cause, irrespective of fame, ability or pathway.

She said: “Everyone’s journey is different, and everyone has got to sacrifice different things but we’re all here for the same reason.

“At City you don’t look at any player and think ‘you don’t deserve to be here’ because everyone is there for a reason and brings something different to the team. We appreciate everything that is given to us.”  

You can watch Georgia Stanway in action for Manchester City this Sunday at the Academy Stadium. Tickets are available here.