Women's Team

Loan Watch: Catching up with Esme Morgan...

Blue is the colour...
Our teenage defender Esme Morgan is spending the season on loan at Saturday's opponents Everton Women.

Unable to play against her parent club, the lifelong City fan will be sitting in the stands!

We caught up with the England youngster to find out how she’s fared so far with the Toffees, what she’s learned and most importantly, how she’ll cope on Saturday...

READ: Nick Cushing to join New York City FC

WATCH: FA WSL Flashback | City 3-0 Everton Women

TICKETS: City v Everton Women

Esme Morgan:

“It’s really good – I’m really enjoying having the opportunity to play regular minutes and I love the environment. It’s a youthful squad and I get along well with all the girls and the coaching staff. It’s been a really enjoyable few months.

“It was really easy to settle in with the majority of the squad being of a similar age. I knew a few of the players from England camps too. There’s a good balance with the older players, who have a lot of domestic and international experience.

“Willie Kirk is a top coach and I’ve learned a lot from him and his assistant Chris Roberts. They dedicate so much time to improving individuals, watching clips and teaching with one-to-ones.

                        Loan Watch: Catching up with Esme Morgan...

“They have a great reputation for developing players and I can see why that’s the case with the work they put in with people to improve them.

“When I signed, Willie said he was excited to see the player I’m becoming and that he felt he had a responsibility to improve me throughout the season and send me back to City a better player.

“He also said he wanted me to push the other players around me, bringing the standards I’d learned and experienced from City to Everton. I’ve tried to implement that and he’s given me more responsibility in terms of leadership and how I behave around the group.

“It’s been really nice to play regularly. I never expect to play – at Everton, we have a lot of competition for places and you never know who will be selected in the starting XI. I think that’s why we’ve been so successful this season – because of the intensity in training, playing within positions and pushing each other to make each other better.

“I’ve been working hard in training and I’ve had some good performances. I hope to continue that. I’ve been really focusing hard on the defensive side of my game and I’ve put a lot of time in with Chris to improve on my one-v-one defending. That was one of the things City highlighted for me to work on and I think it’s shown in my game.

“There are still a lot of things I think I could have done better. Decision-making for example… but that’s what you get from match experience – you get more of a feel for the game with regular minutes and you can understand which passes to make at the right time.

“It’s amazing to be playing consistently at this level at such a young age. It’s the quickest way to develop. You always want to test yourself against the best players and those are the games you learn the most from, playing up against world-class players.

“You watch the game back and realise which times you got the better of your opponent and the times they got the better of you, and what you can do differently next time. It’s such a buzz to play in big games and it’s so good for your confidence to know that the coach trusts you in games like that.

“I think it’s true that this season has been the most competitive FA Women’s Super League season so far. You can see that with the results, especially over the last few weeks – teams at the bottom are taking points off those at the top and the standard across the board has improved massively.

WATCH: FA WSL Flashback: City 3-0 Everton Women

“Everton have really improved compared to last season and that’s testament to the work Willie and the staff put in and the players implementing what they want, working hard and pushing each other.

“I’m having a lot of fun. I scored my first senior goal, which was one of my targets for this season. I was so excited! It was an amazing feeling and the girls were really happy for me as well.

“I just want to continue to play wherever I can, as well as I can. As a team, we want to stay in the top five and have a run in the FA Cup – those are our collective targets – and individually, I want to continue to develop and improve with as many minutes under my belt as I can get, especially in those big games.

“As for today, it’s a weird situation! I feel like an Everton player but of course, I’m also still a City player… We’ve played City twice already this season but it was quite early on.

“I’m just going to sit on my hands and try not to react to anything! That’s the best way to go!”

Everton manager Willie Kirk:

"I think Esme has done well to date. There have been some inconsistencies in her matchday performances, but we expected that and it’s part of her learning process. She is desperate to learn and improve and is a joy to coach.

"She has good speed and endurance which is obviously part of her game as a full-back. Her delivery into the box is good from open play and dead balls and she is continuing to develop her passing range with both feet.

                        Loan Watch: Catching up with Esme Morgan...

"She is developing well by accumulating experience through match minutes. She is learning what works, what doesn’t work, how to deal with different scenarios and different opponents. She needs to continue to improve her mental resilience - to ensure one mistake doesn’t quickly lead to another.

"She mixes well with the other players off the pitch, is a very positive character and tries to lead by example. She is very mature for her age and without a doubt, she can be a future captain.

"Again, because of her age, she has had inconsistent performances, and in every game she has had really good moments as well as some difficult periods in games. This includes when she has played against some of the best wide players in the league.

"I think Esme can achieve whatever she wants in the future. She has a fantastic attitude and work ethic and she should be, and is, targeting on reaching the very top of the game. Hopefully, Everton can play a part in that path."

City welcome Everton to the Academy Stadium on Saturday 11 January (5:30pm) in the first home game of 2020. Tickets for all women's home games are available online or at the Etihad Stadium Ticket Office.

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