Women's Team

My Favourite Game: Karen Bardsley

My Favourite Game: Karen Bardsley
Happy birthday, Karen Bardsley!

Our legendary goalkeeper turns 36 today - further cause for October celebration, after the City and England star made her long-awaited return from injury last week!

One of the Club's first signings when we turned professional, Bardsley is one of the longest-serving members of the squad and one of the most important contributors to our success.

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So, which of her 99 appearances is her all-time favourite?

In the latest edition of My Favourite Game, presented by Marathonbet, the shot-stopper chooses her most memorable match...

The pick

It's so hard to choose - there have been so many...

There's the 2014 Continental Cup Final (which we had no right to win!), winning the league in 2016, the Champions League draw at home to Lyon (my favourite personal performance), victories over Chelsea and Arsenal, the penalty shoot-out win in the 2019 Conti Cup Final...

But I'm going to go with the FA Women's Cup Final at Wembley in 2017 when we beat Birmingham. I think that's the most vivid and fond memory and it ticks all the boxes: a Cup Final, playing at Wembley, winning the trophy for the first time...

Playing at Wembley is always amazing and playing there for the first time in an FA Cup Final is an incredible experience I'll never forget.

WATCH: Classic highlights: City 4-1 Birmingham

Pre-match

I still get nervous for every single game! But it's an excited kind of nervous - butterflies!

For all of the Cup Finals, I would say I look forward to the game more than the occasion.

You do get a feeling sometimes whether it's going to be a good day but sometimes, you aren't quite feeling it and you still have a good performance which goes to show: it's not so much how you feel - it's how you prepare.

If you prepare properly and in the same way for every game, it gives you the best opportunity to perform.

I always feel I'm quite upbeat and bubbly. If I'm quiet, I'm too focused! It's about managing your energy, allowing yourself time to switch off and not think about football until you have to.

When you overthink it, it can get too much. If you spend too long in that excited state, it can be exhausting so I like to put music on, talk to my friends, FaceTime home... anything that puts me in a good mood before a warm-up.

Just try to stay positive and excited and look forward to what you're about to do.

The game

Well, we were 3-0 up before the end of the first half! It couldn't have gone better.

I didn't have too much to do in the first half. The girls were on it that day and I was just thinking: 'This is so great!'

It's strange as a 'keeper... As an outfield player, you always have the opportunity to be involved in any sort of play, whether that's defence or attack.

As a goalkeeper, you can't go wandering, looking for things to do! You have to wait until things come to you!

WATCH: IWD Five-a-side team: Karen Bardsley

Making a save is probably as close as you can get to scoring a goal.

I guess a good day for a 'keeper is when the opposition is doing everything they can, giving everything they've got - but they can't get past you.

You build in confidence and you're like: 'Yeah, I got this!' but at the same time, you have to make sure you don't get ahead of yourself.

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That's happened to me in the past. You can get carried away. You have to make sure you stay in the moment and stay focused.

It's something you have to practice. It's so easy for people to think you'll have a quiet game but you have to take one thing at a time.

Birmingham pulled a goal back in the second half but Jill Scott made it 4-1 to end the game on a high - and we deserved that.

It was such an amazing feeling at the full-time whistle and you could see in the celebrations how much it meant to us all.

I remember how I felt after the 2014 Conti Cup Final, after that Lyon game and after saving the penalties in the 2019 Final... but winning the FA Cup at Wembley for the first time can't be topped.


                        My Favourite Game: Karen Bardsley

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