Women's Team

Cushing: Roebuck must write her own story

SAFE HANDS: Ellie Roebuck keeps her eyes on the ball
Nick Cushing has urged Ellie Roebuck to ‘write her own story’, as the City goalkeeper looks to become England’s number one.

The shot-stopper is quickly making a name for herself as one of the brightest young talents in the British game, stepping into the injured Karen Bardsley’s absence seamlessly, completing 2019 with a remarkable save percentage of 90.9% in the 2019/20 campaign.

READ: Pauline Bremer | I'm nearing my best

WATCH: Match highlights | City 3-1 Everton Women

TICKETS: City v Arsenal Women | Sub 2 Feb

Since making her international debut in November 2018, the teenager has been a regular name amongst Phil Neville’s Lionesses squad, pushing for starts ahead of her heavily-experienced counterparts.

Roebuck, who is set to face her hometown club in her beloved Sheffield United in the Continental Cup quarter-finals tonight, credits Cushing for her rapid development, thriving from his faith in her ability.

Tipping the shot-stopper – and teammate Keira Walsh – to accomplish great things, the 35-year-old insists he will still follow her progression closely during his new venture as Assistant Manager of New York City FC.

“Ellie can achieve whatever she wants in the game,” he said. “We’ve said this to her.

“In 2017, when we lost the Conti Cup Final 1-0 at Wycombe, she played. Both Ellie and Georgia Stanway had been involved in the team but hadn’t taken part in any of our success.

“Georgia came on for 10 minutes in the FA Cup Final to get a medal, so we pushed them really hard.

“We said to Ellie: ‘You played in the Final. We’ve only lost one and you played in goal. You haven’t played any part in the trophies we’ve won.

“’You have to work incredibly hard. Just being here is great – being part of the team, playing with Steph Houghton – but you have to create your own story, and make sure that on that journey, you’re earning it.’

“I think that relationship is why we’ve gone on to be successful. She’s doing that now. She’s far ahead of what we would see as her developing curve – playing games, playing for England…

“She can be England’s number one for sure but she has to make sure she works incredibly hard to stay fit and focused, keeping the ball out of the goal, using her feet… all parts of the game.

“With outside influences – money, sponsors, fans… stuff that can take your eye off it – the best players stay focused,. Ellie has that opportunity. Do I think she’ll do it? Of course.

“Even in New York, I’ll continue to push her if I see her going to places, doing things or making decisions which I feel could affect her ability to be the best goalkeeper in the world.

“(Also) Keira Walsh. I’ll continue to watch her. She can go straight to the top of the game, if she continues to work hard and is motivated to do the hard things.”

Perhaps inspired by the chance to compete in the 2020 Olympics, Cushing added the current crop of City stars ‘has a different feel’ to previous squads, with several players consistently producing their very best performances.

“This team has a feel we’ve never had over six seasons,” he declared. “It’s a different feel and maybe when I’m out of it, I’ll reflect.

WATCH: Match highlights: City 3-1 Everton Women

“We’ve been so consistent around the head-to-heads. Okay, we lost against Chelsea and Arsenal but we’ve been winning other games easily that we’d never won (in that fashion), scoring three, four, five goals. There’s a good feel.

“We’re dominating games and the likes of Steph Houghton and Jill Scott are as consistent as they’ve always been.

“Players like Janine Beckie, Caroline Weir and Pauline Bremer are hitting levels they’ve never hit in their career.

“There are a lot of good players (pushing for an Olympic place). Chelsea and Arsenal are incredible teams with good British players.

“If you look at all of the players we’ve got, there are a lot of players pushing hard.

“Half of me would love to coach the team at an Olympics; half of me would never like to pick the 18 that would go. At this moment in time, I’m glad I’m not picking the 18!

“It’s really clear and it’s no different with or without me that as a team, we have to beat Chelsea and Arsenal here. If we do that, we win the league.

“We have two cups we hold that we want to defend, and we’ll make sure we prepare for Sheffield United, Birmingham, Man United…

“There’s a great opportunity for the team to win. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing.”

City return to Continental Cup action with a quarter-final trip to Sheffield United Women tonight (7:30pm). Our next home game sees Cushing’s side welcome Champions Arsenal in a must-win, top-of-the-table clash on Sunday 2 February with tickets available to purchase online or at the Etihad Stadium Ticket Office.

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