Women's Team

Mannion: Club backing helping WSL attract world stars

Mannion: Club backing helping WSL attract world stars
Aoife Mannion believes the influx of top international talent into the FA Women’s Super League (FA WSL) is a product of the increased levels of support clubs are giving to their women’s team.

Five American World Cup winners have signed for English sides ahead of the 2020/21 season, with City bringing in Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle, Manchester United adding Christen Press and Torbin Heath and Tottenham Hotspur securing the services of one of the game’s leading lights in Alex Morgan.

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Chelsea have also swooped for former UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Pernille Harder of Denmark.

Mannion feels their arrival highlights the increased backing clubs are giving to their women’s teams and rather than being concerned by other sides strengthening, she is relishing the competition.

“I think that these sorts of players coming over is a symptom more generally of the men’s clubs supporting the women’s team a lot more,” she said.

“We have been fortunate here at City to have been taken under the umbrella much earlier than most teams. I think that is changing. I think other teams are getting on board as well.

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“Manchester United have created a women’s team in the last few years and they seem to be supporting that team with the new signings and that seems to be a general theme throughout.

“Leicester have just created their women’s team as a professional outfit. Other teams like Sheffield United are in the Premier League now and they seem to be really supporting their women’s team.

“It can only be a good thing. That competition is great. Players at the top level thrive on that. We all want to play against the best teams and the best players and be dominant.”

Gareth Taylor has also bolstered his squad with some of the best English talent in the form of Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood, who helped Lyon to a treble and a seventh Champions League title last season.

The returning Bronze has made an instant impact on Mannion, who was struck by her appetite for success and the 24-year-old feels that winning mentality will prove invaluable in City’s quest for silverware.

“I was chatting to Lucy and something that really stood out about her was that she was talking about some of the struggles at Lyon and the fact they had made two draws this year,” explained the full-back.

“I don’t know any player from any other team – men or women – that would feel they could have done better this year because they had drawn twice.

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“They hadn’t lost a game and won the Champions League and she was talking about the extra bit of focus that would have been needed to get a clean sweep.

“These are the sort of players we are dealing with now and I think even with one it’s mouth-watering.

“We have got two Champions League winners and two World Cup winners coming into the fold. I challenge any other team to have that sort of mindset.

“I think it transcends the skill. It's a presence. It is really exciting and infectious.”

Mannion also had positive news on her recovery from the ACL injury which has kept her out since October 2019.

The full-back is nearing a return, but admits she will be easing herself back into the fold after such a lengthy absence.

“I’m nearly back in training,” added City’s No.2.

“It has been nine months post-operation so it feels like it’s all shaping up now. It has definitely taken its time. I feel like sometimes the knee has a bit of a mind of its own.

“I’m just being patient and rolling with the punches so it will shape up and let me back on the pitch when it is the right time.”

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