Women's Team

Morgan set to build on breakthrough season

Morgan set to build on breakthrough season
The 2020/21 Barclays FA Women’s Super League campaign may not have garnered silverware for City – but it will be a season Esme Morgan will never forget.

In addition to the magical moment of her first goal for her beloved childhood Club, our eighth term in the top-flight also marked her breakthrough into the first team, her maiden Wembley appearance and her Champions League debut!

Dream scenarios for any footballer – never mind a lifelong City fan at the tender age of 20!

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With the signings of Champions League-winning defenders Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood, and World Cup winner Abby Dahlkemper, plus Aoife Mannion’s long-awaited return from injury, Morgan could have been forgiven for feeling her future may lie elsewhere – at least in the short term, having spent the previous season on loan at Everton in a successful and fruitful spell.

However, upon speaking with new City Head Coach Gareth Taylor over the summer of 2020, the youngster agreed that the City Football Academy remained the ideal environment for her development, providing the opportunity to learn from the very best in the business – both on and off the pitch.

As a result, the defender’s progression has been rapid. Showcasing impressive versatility and an infectious enthusiasm, she has featured across the backline throughout the campaign, clocking 24 appearances in all competitions.

Needless to say, she’s loved every second and believes she’s gained valuable (and unrivalled) experience along the way.

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“I’ve hugely enjoyed it,” she declared. “I came back on loan from Everton, where I gained a good amount of experience and to be honest, I’ve probably played more than I imagined I would this season with the players we have.

“From the first time I spoke to Gaz in pre-season, he told me he wanted me to stay. He showed a lot of belief in me and he’s really trusted me, which is huge.

“I was desperate to stay and learn from him and from the players around me – the World Cup winners, the Champions League winners – and see where it could take me.

“It’s been a really positive decision and I feel I’ve got a lot more out of staying than I perhaps would have elsewhere.

“I’ve played in some really big games – at Wembley in the Community Shield and the Champions League – and it’s been so enjoyable for me to be able to prove myself capable of playing at that level.

“I’ve loved coming up against the world’s best and I believe I’ve learned a lot.

“One game that sticks out for me in particular was the Champions League game against Barcelona. I really feel like it was a turning point in my season and potentially a huge moment in my career.

“Although the result didn’t go our way, I learned so much and I was able to bounce back for the second leg and I showed what I had learned.

“I feel I’ve really been pushed in my development and I’m always trying to pick up on things I can be better at, constantly trying to improve, being accountable for my own development in those areas.

“Gaz is very encouraging. He doesn’t say: ‘You can’t do this’ – he’s always positive and he believes that improving those things can take my game to really high levels.

“I’ve absolutely loved this season and the opportunities I’ve been given. I feel so lucky to have had so much trust put in me by the staff.”


                        Morgan set to build on breakthrough season

So, having fulfilled her childhood dream of scoring her first goal, what’s next for the youngster?

“My second!” she laughs. “Of course, I want to win more trophies with City.

“We won the FA Cup this season but we were disappointed not to have progressed in the Champions League or the Continental Cup, although we pushed Chelsea all the way in the title race.

“With the calibre of players we have, we wanted to be a lot more successful but we’re doing all we can to push on to become the dominant team in England.

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“That’s something that’s been building for the past few years – not just this season – and we’re excited for what’s to come.

“For me personally, I know that if I keep improving and pushing, more opportunities will come my way.

“Of course, I want to try and establish myself as a regular starter but there’s a lot of quality in this team and everyone wants to play.

“I understand it’s not always possible but Gaz has a lot of confidence in my on where I can go in the game and he has big visions for me in the future.

“It’s really exciting to play under a manager who has that faith in you and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

Read more from Esme in our digital matchday programme ahead of Sunday’s Vitality Women’s FA Cup clash against West Ham…

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