Women's Team

New Lioness Morgan not resting on laurels

New Lioness Morgan not resting on laurels
Esme Morgan is no stranger to whirlwinds!

Back in 2017, as a fresh-faced 16=year-old on the week of receiving her GCSE results, she gained a promotion to the first-team set-up at her beloved Manchester City.

Within days, she’d travelled abroad for a pre-season tournament, made her senior bow and lined up against some of the world’s greatest stars as City locked horns with European Champions Olympique Lyonnais.

Fast forward 12 months and the youngster had clinched a bronze medal at the Under-20 Women’s World Cup, alongside Georgia Stanway, Ellie Roebuck and Chloe Kelly.

A year on again, she switched sky blue for royal blue to spend a season-long loan at Everton, where she bagged her first senior goal before November!

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With the enforced conclusion of the 2019/20 season, Morgan returned to her parent Club earlier than anticipated but was thrown straight back into action alongside some of the biggest names in the women’s game, clocking up valuable minutes and experience with plenty of pre-season gametime.

Now, three years on from that wonderful week in which she collected her GCSE results (eight A*s, one A and one B), Morgan has just returned from her first senior England training camp, where she also netted her maiden Lionesses first-team goal!

By the way, she’s a defender…

Having hit new heights in recent months, the bright teenager is still flying high on cloud nine, but ever humble, grounded and wise beyond her years, she refuses to rest on her laurels.

“It’s been mad!” she smiled. “It came as a complete surprise to receive the call-up! I couldn’t really take it in.

“I was getting a lot of messages congratulating me and I was just sat there, grinning and shaking my head!


                        New Lioness Morgan not resting on laurels

“When people are saying really nice things, it does make you feel good and gives you confidence but at the same time, I try not to take it on board too much.

“I’m quite level-headed and critical of my performances. Even though I’ve been called up, I certainly don’t think I’m close to where I want to be – there’s so much more I want to achieve.

“If you get caught up in compliments, you can forget things you need to improve on and that’s an unhealthy cycle – you can get too comfortable.

“I’m not delusional and I’m not the sort of person to think: ‘I’ve done it now so I can chill.’ I’m always looking for the next thing.

“For me, hearing those nice things from people gives me the drive to prove them right. It doesn’t add pressure – it just makes you want to achieve the things they’re saying you can achieve.

“I’m certainly not satisfied going on a training camp – I want to make my debut at some point and hopefully, become a regular member of the squad.”

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That is certainly the hope of her coaches and peers for both Club and country. Morgan was one of seven youngsters selected for their maiden senior call-ups, as England look ahead to the 2023 Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Though exhilarated at the prospect of stepping out for her country in the world’s most prestigious tournament, the defender again insists she will not get ahead of herself – instead focusing on gleaning every crumb of knowledge and experience available in the meantime.

“There’s lots of talk at England of the three-year cycle,” she explained. “We’re looking ahead to the Olympics, the Euros and the World Cup with the aim to win.

“To be in and around the set-up is really exciting. Hopefully, I’ll be able to try and establish myself a bit more before a big tournament so I can play a part.

“It’s a really exciting time for the country with the young players we have coming through, tying in with the more established players. It’s an exciting extended group to have to choose from.

“I spoke to the coaches a lot and their advice mainly was just to enjoy it and take it all in. They told me not to get overwhelmed or feel the need to do anything spectacular – just play how I play and try to impress to stake a claim for a future place.


                        New Lioness Morgan not resting on laurels

“To be honest, I’ve probably had it a lot easier than some of the other players who were coming into the squad for the first time because I knew half of the team from City and I knew a lot of the young ones already!

“It made it a breeze really for me, coming in, although I made an effort to try to get to know some of the people I didn’t know before.

“The City girls were always there though, looking out for me and checking if I was okay when we crossed paths.

“A lot of them had spoken to me when I got the initial call-up and said they thought I deserved it. They told me to be confident; to play how I play at City and that everything else would take care of itself.

“It was nice that they showed that faith in me – it gave me confidence going into the camp – and it was nice to have that homely feeling when I was there.”

A lifelong City fan with a deep-rooted love of the Club, Morgan also spoke of her pride to be the latest Academy representative to have taken the step up to senior international duty.

“It’s great for the Club,” she grinned. “There’s a lot of pride taken at City in developing young English players.

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“It’s really good for the Academy and shows people that there’s a constant pipeline of young players coming through, breaking into the first team and going on to become senior England players.

“Look at Georgia Stanway, Ellie Roebuck, Keira Walsh… and hopefully, Jess Park will follow the same path.

“Hopefully, I can follow suit in the coming years to become an established part of the squad and be a role model for young players coming through.”

And will there be more goals to look forward to, following her first England strike…?

“I’ll do my best!” she laughed. “The one I scored at camp was a bit lucky – to be honest, it just hit me in the face and went in!

“I wasn’t complaining – any goal is a good goal! As my mum would tell me, Shaun Goater wouldn’t have complained – they all count, whether it’s in off the shin or whatever!

“Hopefully, I’ll get my first competitive goal for City soon!”

Hear more from Esme next week in the digital matchday programme...

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