Women's Team

Williams on Keating’s Rapid Rise

Khiara Keating’s rise from youth academy graduate to England international, from the perspective of City’s goalkeeping coach, Chris Williams.

The undeniable talent of Khiara Keating had been on Chris Williams’ radar long before her senior introduction. 

The 19-year-old goalkeeper has penned a fresh extension, keeping her at the Joie Stadium until the summer of 2027. 

It represents the next milestone for the shot-stopper after a remarkable rise through the Club’s ranks to the senior team, and an England call-up to boot.   

However, Williams’ association with Keating stretches further back than her debut for Gareth Taylor’s side – a 5-0 Continental Cup win over Leicester in January 2022. 


Aware of the ‘noise’ surrounding an exceptional talent in City’s ranks, Williams took out the time to see our rising star in action. 

“My first memories [of Khiara] are actually before she came into the seniors,” he revealed. 

“When she was coming through the Academy, there was a bit noise around her, so every now and again I'd drop in on a session at night and watch.  

“Whether she knew I was there or whether I was watching from afar and just having a little look at her, [we] kind of knew what she was about coming into it.”  

With Ellie Roebuck and Karen Bardsley injured at the start of 2022, Keating was elected to join the senior squad to help bolster the goalkeeping department for a side striving for major honours.   

Although understandably shy by her usual standards, Williams explains how the teenager seamlessly fit into the squad full of trailblazers.  

He added: “We had a bit of a goalkeeping crisis. We needed another body for training and with her college programme at the time it was an ideal situation for her to come in and train with us post-Christmas around the seniors.   

“She came in and, she's full of confidence anyway, but now knowing what her confidence is like, she was quite quiet. 

“But we always knew she had the capability, it was just where the capability was going to go and lead her. 

“She's not afraid to show character when you've got big personalities as it was like a Lucy Bronze at the time, who had just won the Ballon d’Or and the next minute you see her doing TikTok videos with her. 

“It's like ‘you're alright within the group’ and safe in that in that sort of social environment.”  

With the England Youth international’s sparkling potential clear to those who’d seen her play, it was decided she was to be exposed to imperative, consistent senior football to aid her development.   

A valuable loan spell at AFC Fylde followed in 2022 before she was fast-tracked into City’s first team squad due to the aforementioned injury issues. 

She would go onto make her debut for Taylor’s team soon after and Williams says the dominos fell perfectly for Keating and the Club.  

“The first loan she went on to Fylde helped massively, because it went from Development Squad football to going into a club where you've got senior players that you're actually challenging for league spots,” he explained.  

“It stood her in massive, massive stead. As it turned out, we ended up having to recall her off that because of the injury problems that we actually had.  


“She ended up on our bench in a Continental Cup game against Leicester and Karima [Taieb] got injured.   

“She obviously came in straight away and it was like she’d played 10-15 games rather than it being her debut.   

“It was almost like: ‘right, you’re playing, so you’ve got to go and deal with it’. And she dealt with it extremely well. She was very good.”    

Since her strong display against Leicester in the League Cup, Keating has totalled 14 appearances for City and has been a regular between the sticks in 2023/24.  

So far this term she has registered three clean sheets and shown a maturity beyond her teenage years – which was highlighted by her Player of the Match display in our 1-1 draw with Chelsea.   

For Williams, her fantastic qualities and characteristics make her a valuable asset to the Club - on and off the field.  

He said: “Obviously, her character is a big thing, she's so laid back. Her distribution, short, medium and long range is obviously an asset to us. She deals with crosses, she's fast off the line.   

“She's powerful in her diving and pushing. The things that she wants to do and to aspire to, she’s not willing to rest on that just being the case, she wants to improve on it and obviously she's learning her trade as well at the same time as playing, which is an art in itself.”  

With everything Keating has already achieved so far, it’s easy to forget how much football she has yet to play in what is sure to be an exciting career. 

keating's thoughts on her first senior england call-up

Sarina Wiegman has followed Taylor’s lead in trusting the goalkeeper by naming her in October’s Lionesses squad for the Nations League double header with Belgium.   

The footballing world is her oyster according to Williams, who believes she’s equipped with the tools to stamp her authority on the senior game, domestically and internationally.  

He concluded: “She's always phrased that she wants to win big trophies and she wants to be part of obviously a winning team and a successful team, and she wants to be successful as an individual as well.   

“She's got the mentality, it's whether she can then back it with what she actually does on the pitch.   

“We've set certain things that we’ve said to her that you need to develop on, whether it be on the pitch or off it, and she's responded very well to it. Every credit to the girl for what she’s done.   

“I think she's got a lot of big qualities within what she brings, and it would be very interesting to see what her future holds.   

“It's exciting to see and obviously the fact that she signed a new contract at the Club is massive for, for her and for City.”