Women's Team

Aoife Mannion's Teammates: 'Everything's annoyingly effortless for Keira Walsh!'

Aoife Mannion's Teammates: 'Everything's annoyingly effortless for Keira Walsh!'
Keira Walsh makes everything look so easy, it’s almost annoying, according to Aoife Mannion!

Lifelong City fan Walsh, who first broke onto the scene as a teenager in the Club’s debut season in the FA Women’s Super League, is now regarded as one of the most technically-gifted players in the country – and an integral component in the success of her beloved Club and country.

Mannion, who joined City last summer, has been impressed with Walsh’s conduct on and off the pitch, now considering her fellow Lioness one of her closest friends.

In the latest edition of Teammates, presented by QNET, the defender reveals what Walsh is like away from the pitch and how she – and “model human” Janine Beckie – aided the early stages of recovery from her ACL injury.

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“I would say the people I’m closest to are Keira Walsh and Janine Beckie,” she declared.

“I could probably have picked two or three others but they’re the ones I spend the most time with, even though we’re all quite different in our own ways – they’re both jokers!

“We go out for coffees and have dinner together.

“I knew Keira before I joined the Club from England camps. We just seemed to click.

“Although we’re very different as players (it’s annoyingly effortless for Keira) and people, we seemed to get on.

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“She’s my roommate and she would say herself that she’s quite reserved – she’s very chilled and likes her own space.

“I remember we roomed together at Reading away last season. I like to be up and about in the morning, getting coffee.

“I ordered a room service delivery of porridge at 7:30am – it was only that early because it was an early kick-off and those are the timings advised by the nutritionist.

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“In my head at the time, I didn’t think of Keira at all and bless her, it was only after the game when we’d won and it had been a good day that she turned around and asked: ‘What on earth were you doing, waking me up at 7:30am for some porridge?!’

“That was probably the last chapter we had together before I got injured so hopefully, we’ll have some nicer experiences next year!

“She’s such a nice friend. When I got injured, she was around, checking I was okay and she was actually sat with me when the Club doctor told me on the phone that I’d done my ACL.

“Janine cooked for me as well and made sure I had everything I needed, making sure I was okay.

“If you follow her on social media, you’ll know she’s probably the model human! She does a bit of everything: cooking healthy food, keeping active… She’s just radiates good vibes across the board.

“That’s really stuck with me and I feel indebted to them both to be honest.”

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Mannion made the move to Manchester, following seven years at her childhood Club Birmingham.

While the defender admits joining a new team can be daunting, she added she was pleasantly surprised at how easy the transition was, thanks to the Club, players and staff.

“Everyone was really good,” she continued.

“I think everyone – football people, human beings – wants to feel comfortable.

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“No matter how welcoming everyone is, it can still be unsettling at the start, especially if you’ve been somewhere else for a long time beforehand – but I’ve been spoilt here with everyone and as time has gone on, I’ve felt more and more comfortable.

“I love coming to the City Football Academy. The people on the front desk are so welcoming, the kitchen staff ask how you’re getting on, the girls ask how you are…

“We do a lot together as a team too. We’ve had team dinners, Christmas parties, end of season parties… and I’ve loved being involved.

“Even though I’m injured, I’ve still been able to go and socialise. If I wasn’t able to have done that, it would have made the experience so much harder.

“I feel so lucky.”

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