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Women’s Player Ratings – 2018/19 Season: Sigsworth the Player of the Season; Chamberlain, Zelem, Green and James all strong contenders

The Manchester United Women’s team has a great first season playing in the second tier of women’s professional football. At the time the squad was announced in July 2018, many would not have thought the season would have been as good as it was. The majority of the players had not played in the same team before and the way they literally took apart their opposition in the majority of matches was impressive.

Casey Stoney has done a magnificent job as the manager at the club and will be looking to continue the feat in the FA Women’s Super League next season where they will be taking on the giants of English women’s football – a challenge in itself. This season though, winning the FA Women’s Championship by winning 18, drawing one and losing one of the 20 matches played, scoring 98 goals and conceding just seven is great. Stoney’s side also reached the semi-finals of the FA Women’s League Cup and the quarter-finals of the Women’s FA Cup.

Here are the player ratings for the entire 2018/19 season for each player to have represented United Women at least once in any of the competitions the club has played in; the FA Championship, the Continental Tyres League Cup and the Women’s FA Cup. All ratings are out of ten stars; five being the level all players start out at during each game. If the player rates over five stars, they are doing well, less than five, they are not doing so well.

Siobhan Chamberlain: The 35-year-old veteran goalkeeper made 27 appearances and managed to keep a total of 19 clean sheets whilst representing her club. She did not concede a single goal in the league until the sixth match of the season. Formerly of Liverpool, Chamberlain has been welcomed by the fan base and is a well-loved shot-stopper at this club. She will certainly bring the best out of both Emily Ramsey and Fran Bentley. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Emily Ramsey: The 18-year-old from Salford made just three appearances for the club this season, one of those from the bench. She did, however, keep three clean sheets (one for each appearance) which will be seen as a great start for the young goalkeeper, he played last season at Liverpool having started out in United’s academy, where she will now be able to continue her career. She has worked with Chamberlain for a year previous to joining United, so will have learned a lot already. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Fran Bentley: The 17-year-old goalkeeper has already spent time at United, having five years in the clubs academy (from 2010 to 2015), also spending three years at Manchester City. She only made one appearance for United this season, coming off the bench against Millwall, of which United were 6-0 up at the time, winning 8-0, keeping a clean sheet in what was he debut. Bentley was loaned to Sheffield United in February where she played six times. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Martha Harris: The 24-year-old fullback, formerly of Liverpool, made 22 appearances for United this season, scoring a single goal. Harris made her debut in the 12-0 destruction of Aston Villa but had to wait until April for her first goal at her new club which came against Millwall, which was a 5-0 away victory. Harris will be looking forward to the new season and challenge. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Alex Greenwood: The former Everton and Liverpool left-back, now 25, played 27 times for United this season, the second most-capped outfield player in the squad. Greenwood captained United this season and has added the determination and leadership to bring this group of women together to make waves in the game with the added hunger to achieve. Greenwood scored five goals for the club this season, four of them from the spot. A great captain for United. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Amy Turner: The 27-year-old defender was one of nine players to sign for the club from Liverpool last summer. Turner made 26 appearances for the club, all starts, scoring twice. Her first goal came in April in the 5-0 victory over Millwall. She has proven herself at this level and will be well up for the challenge of playing in the Women’s Super League once again next season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Naomi Hartley: The 18-year-old defender made just three appearances for United this season, two of those were from the bench. She made her debut on September, a 75th-minute substitute against the London Bees – a 5-0 victory to United. She made her full debut against Lewes in December. However, in March, she was loaned to Sheffield United and ended up being released by the club at the end of the season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Lucy Roberts: Another former Liverpool player, the 18-year-old defender never made a single appearance for United this season and was released by the club after the final match of the season, in which United lifted the FA Women’s Championship. She did, however, play many matches at academy level, helping the side to reach the final of the Academy Cup. She was loaned out to Huddersfield Town, making six appearances and scoring two goals for them. It is a shame it did not work out for her at United. As she did not feature at this level, she will not be rated.

Kirsty Smith: The 25-year-old Scottish defender signed for United from Hibernian last summer, along with teammate Lizzie Arnot. Smith played 23 times for United, four appearances from the bench and did not score a single goal for the club. Smith has become a valued defender in this squad and her experience will help the club this coming season when they raise the bar to challenge the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Birmingham City and Reading. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Millie Turner: The 22-year-old former Everton and Bristol City defender played 29 times for United this season, the most-capped player in the squad, scoring two goals, both in the FA Women’s Championship. Turner was one of seven senior players who returned to the team she started out at, being able to play competitive matches for United. Turner scored her first goal for the club against the London Bees back in September. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Aimee Palmer: The 18-year-old midfielder played 15 times for United this season, eight times from the bench, scoring one goal for her club. Palmer signed from Bristol City last summer and will be happy with her debut season at United. The midfielder scored her first and only goal in the 5-0 thrashing of Lewes on the final day of the season which saw her and her teammates lift their FA Women’s Championship trophy. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mollie Green: The 21-year-old midfielder, formerly of Liverpool and Everton, represented United 27 times during the course of the season, scoring a total of 16 goals for her club – 13 of which came in the league. Green scored her debut goal in the first league match of the season, a 12-0 thrashing of Aston Villa. She scored her first career hat-trick in the 8-0 belittling of Millwall in November and after scoring five goals in three matches that month, was named the FA Women’s Championship Player of the Month. This coming season will be a big challenge for Casey Stoney and her squad but I think Green and her teammated are ready for it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Katie Zelem: Now 23, Zelem will be happy to be back at United having spent nine years in the clubs Centre of Excellence from 2004 until 2013. She has played for Liverpool and Juventus before returning to the club she spent many years of her youth at. Zelem made a total of 26 appearances this season, starting all matches, scoring 11 goals. Her first goal came from the spot against Aston Villa in that 12-0 thrashing of the Birmingham club. She was named the FA Women’s Championship Player of the Month for March, also winning the clubs Player of the Year award this season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Charlie Devlin: The 21-year-old midfielder signed for United from the Millwall Lionesses in the summer and made a total of 21 appearances for United, 13 of those from the bench. Devlin scored his first of six goals this season in the 4-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the league. Sadly though, Devlin was released by the club after lifting the FA Women’s Championship after the final game of the season. It is a shame it has not worked out for her at United. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Lauren James: The 17-year-old made a total of 27 appearances for the club this season, nine of which came off the bench. James scored a total of 17 goals, 14 of those in the league alone. She arrived at United from Arsenal, taking a step down in order to play for this club after so far, it seems to have worked. James scored her the opening two goals in the 12-0 thrashing of Aston Villa, the first league match of the season. James was named the FA Women’s Championship Player of the Month for September after scoring three goals; a month United were unbeaten in. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ella Toone: The 19-year-old forward returned to United after spending time in the academy from 2007 until 2013. She has also played for Blackburn Rovers at academy level, playing senior football for Manchester City, the team she left to re-sign for United last summer. Toone made a total of 29 appearances for United, ten of those from the bench, scoring 15 goals, 14 of those in the league. Toone scored he first goal in the 12-0 victory over Aston Villa and was named the FA Women’s Championship Player of the Month for February after scoring five goals in United’s two matches that month. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Jess Sigsworth: My Player of the Season. The 24-year-old forward, a reigning FA Women’s Championship champion, before the league was renamed, with Doncaster Belles, before signing for United. Sigsworth scored 18 goals for United this season, the clubs top scorer. 17 of her goals came in the league, where she won the golden boot. Sigsworth scored five goals for United in their opening league match, the 12-0 thrashing of Aston Villa. She is on to bigger and better things now and will be challenged in the FA Women’s Super League next season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Leah Galton: The 24-year-old forward had a varied career before signing for United, playing College football in the United States of America for Hofstra Pride, playing professional football for Sky Blue FC in New Jersey. Galton also played for Bayern Munich in 2018 after leaving the USA in 2017. Galton played 21 times for United, seven of those from the bench, scoring four goals, three of those in the league. She scored her first goal Everton in a 3-0 victory in the League Cup and her first league goal against Tottenham Hotspur in Match, a 5-1 victory for United. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Lizzie Arnot: The 23-year-old Scottish forward signed for United form Hibernian, with teammate Kirsty Smith last summer. She has played 24 times for United, eight of those from the bench, scoring seven goals for the club, six of those in the league. Arnot scored her first goal for United in the 1-0 League Cup victory over Liverpool, which was the first competitive match for the club. Her first league goal came against Sheffield United back in September. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kirsty Hanson: The 21-year-old forward was one of seven players to return to the club after being part of the academy in the past. She left for Liverpool, playing senior football with Sheffield FC Ladies and the Doncaster Belles. Hanson made a total of 26 appearances for United this season, nine of those from the bench, scoring five goals, all in the FA Women’s Championship. She made her debut in the League Cup against Liverpool, scoring in her league debut against Aston Villa, the 12-0 victory and the clubs biggest win of the season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ebony Salmon: The 18-year-old forward signed for United from Aston Villa last summer and did not play a single minute of football for Casey Stoney’s side during the course of the season. In January, she was loaned to Sheffield United for the remainder of the season, where she made 11 appearances, scoring eight goals. Sadly, she was released by United at the end of the season. She will not be rated as it would be unfair as she never played for the club.

The 2018/19 season for Manchester United Women will be talked about as the best inaugural season in women’s football, especially by the United supporters who saw a great brand of football with the team taking no prisoners. In total, 113 goals were scored across the entire season; 98 in the FA Women’s Championship, conceding seven; seven in the Women’s FA Cup, three conceded; and eight in the FA Women’s League Cup, conceding four.

The upcoming season will be a big challenge for Casey Stoney and her squad of players. It was a shame to see four players released at the end of the season but the manager will be making preparation for the rise to the top flight of women’s football where the club will be seeking to take on what may seem to be a surprise title challenge in the next few seasons. After the way this season elapsed, they should not be written off based on the experience at the club, the winning mentality and the work ethic of this squad. They really showed the men’s team up this season. Great stuff.

Manchester United Women win FA Women’s Championship in their first season back in contention

The Manchester United Women’s squad will be crowned champions of the FA Women’s Championship after their 7-0 victory against Crystal Palacegave them an advantage on the league table that second place Tottenham will have no chance of beating. This is a momentous occasion as this is also the first season the Women’s team has been active at United since it was ended by the clubback in 2005.

The massive season was aided heavily by solid performances in both attacking and defence. Goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain has had a season to remember as in her eighteen league appearances the squad has achieved thirteen clean-sheetsincluding Saturday’s win against Crystal Palace. The overall defense of the squad will also be proud, however, as the club only allowed seven goals throughout the season. 

Alex Greenwood has been the primary choice for captain in Casey Stoney’s squad and has made seventeen appearances for United this season. Amy Turner and Kirsty Smith have also played crucial roles in the defence, both making fourteen appearances in the league, and finally Martha Harris, who has made thirteen defensive appearances including Saturday’s win. 

Attacking has been impressive for the women’s squad as well as Jessica Sigsworthleads the squad with fifteen goals, and Ella Tooneis one goal behind Sigsworth with fourteen goals. Finally in third, but also not far behind, is Mollie Greenwith thirteen goals. Head coach Casey Stoney will be pleased with her squad’s attacking ability as they have already put up eighty-eight goals as a team with two matches still remaining in the league, and it will definitely be a huge boost to the players, many of whom are still fairly young and early on into their career.

The United Women’s squad held a fairly firm grip on the league when it came to their top quality play, as their high amounts of scoring, and solid defending did not go unnoticed. This season alone, four women on the United squad have been awarded the honour of Player of the MonthKatie Zelem was the most recent player to win the award, winning in March. One month before Zelem, attacker Ella Toone was awarded Player of the Month, and finally last year, midfielders Mollie Green (November) and Lauren James(September) also won the award.

The excitement of this year’s success will definitely be amplified because of the women’s squad only just re-emerging back into operation this season. Simply achieving promotion alone would have already been seen as successful, and winning the league completely will definitely earn a strong show of confidence from United for any future plans.

With only two matches remaining this season in the league, the women’s squad will soon begin its preparations for a step up in quality of play, which will definitely require the current players, and whoever might come into the squad to be at the top of their game next season to ensure that United stay in the FA Women’s Super League next season. 

Currently, Manchester City and Arsenal are in a battle for the top spot in the Super League, and will more than likely be contenders next season assuming no major changes occur during the summer. If United’s women’s squad can adapt to the increase on their quality of play and perform similarly to this season, then they too will more than likely be contenders in the Super League next season.

Written by Joel Dulka

Casey Stoney talks about ‘surprise’ signings for Manchester United Women’s team

Casey Stoney was announced as Manchester United Women’s head coach just over a week ago and already seems to have got started with her new role. Despite United’s new women’s team not playing in the top flight of women’s football next season, playing in the second tier, Stoney felt that recruitment would be much harder than it was. United and Stoney have already agreed on 17 players joining the tea, with the new season starting in August. Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Stoney said:

“I thought the recruitment process was going to more difficult because we’re not in the top-tier, so I thought that would be a huge challenge for us. 

“But because It’s Manchester United and because of the plans and the visions of the club and what we can do for the women’s game and the profile of the players it has been a bit easier than expected.”

When Manchester City restarted their women’s team and entered the Women’s Super League top-tier, the club were able to poach the best players from a number of clubs and Stoney, on becoming the United Women’s head coach, has been able to approach players from other clubs in a way most clubs are not able to do, seemingly doing what City had done, but depending on the names she has been able to sign, may not be as big as what City had done. Stoney confirmed:

“Obviously I know the game, I have been in it a long time. Whereas other clubs might have to go through agents I go straight to the player because they know me.”

Stoney confirmed that her side will have some players from the top-tier of the WSL along with players who have represented United as girls but had to move on because of the lack of a women’s team at the club. It shows that United, despite entering in the lower tier of the WSL have the will to succeed and become a top-flight team in the women’s league, which shows the dreams and aspirations of the club – to want to achieve. Stoney stated:

“We have tried to get experienced players because when you are building something you need them, but we have also gone for some really young and exciting players. We have a good blend and each year we will try and strengthen and make sure we can compete.

“I have been relentless in trying to recruit the best players and we are going to put them in some uncomfortable positions and really push them to develop. I can’t ask players to drop down if I can’t make those promises to stretch and challenge them.”

The United Women’s team will be based at The Cliff, United’s historic training ground of which the first team moved out in the early 2000s to head to Carrington, where the Aon Training Complex is located. Many will wonder why the women’s team are not able to be located in the same place. United have invested a lot of money to regenerate The Cliff, which will always be a place when it comes to talking about the club. The women’s team will play their games at Leigh Sports Village, where the U23s play the majority of their home games. Stoney said:

“I am happy with it because we can do what we want when we want. I have been in women’s football a long time and as women’s team, you will never take precedent over the men’s team. They are discussing plans to expand Carrington and the reason we’re not there is because they just don’t have the capacity for any more teams.

“But our team will be part of those expansion plans. They’re investing £1.2m at The Cliff and it’s a building full of history and tradition so to have that as a base is brilliant.”

Despite being part of Manchester United for just over a week, Stoney feels part of the family already and is hoping to pick the brains of first team manager Jose Mourinho in the coming weeks and months as she looks et get United’s Women’s team started and on their way to victory. Concluding, Stoney said:

“I’ve not spoken to him yet but I’m sure I will do in the future. I have been at the training ground a lot but the men’s team are having a break, but when he’s back I might be lucky enough to have a chat and pick his brains. 

“The reason I took this job is because they told me they don’t do anything unless they can do it properly and already they have fully integrated the team within the club and I have been at a lot of clubs where that hasn’t happened.

“We want to build this team and put them on a platform where they can be successful. We have a team now that I think is good enough to try and get up within the first season and that’s what we’re trying to do.

“These are the first 20 players ever in history to represent Manchester United Women’s team on a professional level. They’ve been given the shirt and it’s up to them to keep it.”

It is clear that United want to succeed with both teams in the future, able to say that both the men’s and women’s side are top-flight teams and both winning things. There is obviously a long road ahead for both teams right now, more so for the new women’s team as they have not played a competitive match yet. It seems like it won’t be long before United announce who they have signed for the women’s team, which at the moment adds a bit of excitement as to who will don the Manchester United women’s shirt at the start of the new season.

Manchester United announce Casey Stoney as their new women’s team head coach

Manchester United have announced Casey Stoney as the head coach of the new United Women’s team which will play their first match at the start of the 2018/19 season as part of the FA Women’s Championship. Stoney, 36, is highly respected in the world of women’s football, after having earned 130 caps for the England women’s team, winning 12 major honours during her playing career. Stoney retired from football earlier in 2018 and after earning her coaching badges, she played a pivotal role as assistant coach for the Lionesses.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward announced the appointment of Stoney as the head coach of the Manchester United Women’s team, speaking to the official Manchester United website, saying:

“Appointing Casey shows the desire we have to succeed and her experience and knowledge of the game, both as a coach and a player, made her a stand-out candidate for the role.

“During her successful playing career, spanning over 18 years, she earned over 100 caps for England and is a proven leader as a coach and having captained many of the sides she has played for, she brings a positive and winning mentality which will be a huge benefit to the team.

“Casey will build on the success of the Girls’ Regional Talent Club and shares out philosophy of creating a pathway from academy to first team. I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome her to Manchester United.”

Stoney, speaking about her new appointment to the official Manchester United website, said:

“I am delighted to have joined Manchester United. This is the biggest club in the world. The fact that we are going to have women’s team and I’m going to be able to introduce that from scratch, to build a team, build a philosophy, with the biggest club in the world, means that, for me, there is no more exciting opportunity.

“My ultimate aim is to grow this team so that every little girl growing up dreams of playing for Manchester United when she’s older, because they’re the most successful team in women’s football.”

It shows that Stoney has the aspirations to achieve something, even if it means nurturing something from the very start. United, have so far not assembled a team capable of playing in the FA Women’s Championship next season, so Stoney’s job will start right now. Whether United use youth players available to them from the Girls’ Regional Talent Club or bring in players who have achieved things across women’s world football, remains to be seen. United will obviously want to give Stoney and her team a kick-start to their careers.

copyright: JW