City goalkeeper Karen Bardsley has endured a challenging year through injury but ever the positive influence, she strives to find the silver lining in every situation.
We catch up with the legendary England shot-stopper, who shares an update on her recovery (and tells us which City star has been helping her through the process) and her thoughts on the season so far, plus what she has learned in 2021…
In KB's words...
“Well, I’m working my way back to fitness. My recovery is going well and I’m pretty happy with my progress.
“This season has been rough with the hand we’ve been dealt but we’ve all tried to make the most of it.
“A lot of people have been really selfless in what they’ve given to this team – we’ve had people playing out of position and generally giving everything they have, which has been really big.
“Plus, we’ve seen some youngsters getting some minutes, which is crucial in their development and important for the Club.
“It’s given us a lot of perspective and an opportunity to pinpoint what we want to do differently, how we can grow and challenge ourselves going forward.
“It’s been tough but it’s brought us closer as a group. We all have each other’s backs.
“It’s been really great getting to know the new signings. I’ve really liked getting to know Alanna Kennedy and Hayley Raso, as well as Vicky Losada, who brings a lot of experience and a mature head. She’s looked after my dog a few times and we’ve had a good laugh around the park!
“Then there’s Bunny, who has been a good signing and great to have around the changing room – every single day I see her, she says something that cracks me up!
“Admittedly, being injured, it’s been a little bit harder to get to know people but I try to be a positive influence where I can.
“At the beginning of the season, myself and some of the staff members organised a bit of a ‘welcome back’ celebration after the Olympics, decorating the changing rooms and the hallways. We went super-OTT to make it special for everyone.
“Sometimes, I leave little positive notes around or I tell people when they’re doing well, trying to recognise the moments when people might need a little pick-me-up. It’s nice that people appreciate that.
“It’s important. Like, Esme Morgan has been my ‘partner-in-crime’ through my course of rehab. Of course, it’s unfortunate she’s injured but at the same time, she’s really kept me going.
“She’s so positive and every day, she tells me something funny that gets me through it.
“Every day at 11:30, we do ‘Core Club’ and as part of that, we play games either in the rest or as a consequence... For example, we’ll do a planking challenge while playing Dobble, which is a card game with little pictures that you match!
“In most of my previous rehabs, I’ve been on my own so she’s been a real breath of fresh air.
“I think that probably my biggest learning in 2021 is: ‘control the controllables.’
“I used to spend a lot of time worrying about things that were out of my control but now, I don’t have the time or the energy for it.
“When you relinquish that control, you give yourself a lot more space and perspective to focus on the things that are more important. It’s really cliché but I guess it’s cliché for a reason!
“Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”