Sheffield-born Ellie Roebuck knows exactly what it means to win a Derby.
The lifelong Sheffield United fan grew up watching her beloved Blades lock horns with Wednesday in the hotly-contested Steel City battles, experiencing both the highs and lows of victory and defeat.
WATCH: Walsh to set Derby example
TICKETS: City v United | Kids go free!
The City and England shot-stopper is set to play a key role, as City entertain Manchester United in the first professional Manchester Derby at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday – and she is relishing the challenge.
As 19-year-old Roebuck readies herself for the historic clash, she recalls her own personal Derby encounters and hopes to reward the City faithful with a top-class performance and the local bragging rights.
“It’s the big one!” she declared. “Everyone has been wishing the time away.
“It’s a Derby on the big stage at the Etihad – these are the games we dream of playing in. It will be such a good occasion.
“We know all about the rivalry in men’s football. Supporting Sheffield United, who have one of the highest rivalries in English football, I know about the passion behind them.
“To be able to play for City in a Derby, knowing what it means to the fans, is amazing. All the girls feel really passionate and we can’t wait to get out there.
“It’s so exciting. It’s the first time most of us will have played at the Etihad Stadium too. It’s an amazing stadium. We go to watch the men’s team, which is always a great occasion. To be able to walk out and see a lot of City fans there, supporting us, will be incredible.
“We know that anything can happen in Derbies, so we’ll be approaching it with everything: all the details.
“It’s exciting and one for the fans. Hopefully, we can get a positive result for them.”
In the injured Karen Bardsley’s absence, Roebuck currently stands as City’s only available senior goalkeeper but is ready to step between the sticks and take responsibility once more.
Though disappointed to see her mentor and close friend sidelined, the 19-year-old hopes to do her City and England teammate proud.
“It’s a strange situation and an unfortunate one on KB’s part,” she admitted. “I don’t think anyone would ever wish injury on anyone.
“I’ll support her all the way and I’m sure she’ll support me on the pitch. That’s the relationship we have.
“The expectation is higher but personally, I’ve realised I now need to kick on and this is a good platform to do that. Hopefully, it sets me up in good stead and I’ll get some more good experience under my belt to add to what I’ve had in previous seasons.
“If I saw it as a pressure, it could get on top of me. It is what it is. I’d like to think that this season, I’d be playing some matches anyway.”
With each passing game, Roebuck is cementing her status as one the brightest young talents in the country.
A string of impressive displays caught the attention of England manager Phil Neville and Roebuck has already earned three senior caps as a teenager.
Although she was not selected in Neville’s 2019 World Cup squad, the shot-stopper was invited to travel to France with the team as part of the training set-up to gain valuable experience and enjoy a taste of potential things to come.
Roebuck explained she learned a lot from the trip and is inspired to push herself to the next level to achieve her goals.
“It’s been unbelievable,” she smiled. “I never went in expecting to be picked as part of the World Cup squad at 19 but I set myself high standards.
“I would have loved to have gone as part of the squad – that unfortunately didn’t happen, but to be given the opportunity to go and support the girls and be part of the group was unbelievable.
The staff all made me feel part of it and I feel I learned a lot out there – tough, high-pressure games, big crowds… I think it will set me up well for the future.”
City kick-off the 2019/20 Super League campaign with a mouth-watering Manchester Derby, hosting Manchester United on Saturday 7 September at 3pm at the Etihad Stadium in the first encounter between the sides since the league was formed. Tickets are available and kids go FREE – witness history!