Manchester United Women’s head coach Casey Stoney has amassed a youthful squad for the 2018/19 inaugural season. She’s hoping to develop that youth, utilizing the leadership of a few veteran transfers from rival clubs Liverpool and Manchester City. Stoney was announced shortly after the club was formed, and expectations for the twelve-time trophy winner and former England captain are high. She has taken her first step in achieving those expectations with the announcement of the squad just a few days ago.
The two most notable names announced were Siobhan Chamberlain, a World Cup and European Championship tested keeper, and Alex Greenwood, an England international and previous young International Player of the Year. Greenwood will also captain the squad, taking full advantage of her substantial experience to lead the Red Devils in the second level of Women’s Football, the FA Women’s Championship. Stoney commented that, “Signing Alex was very significant for us. She is an experienced international and has one of the best left foots in the game that will be vital to the way we want to play.”
In her interview with manutd.com, she also spoke of the team overall, “We’ve gone young, we’ve gone exciting, we’ve gone entertaining. I’m more than aware that we’re bringing 21 strangers together but I’m really excited about the squad and the future of this team.”
The inaugural season was always going to be an experiment of sorts. It’s a difficult task to bring footballers together with little experience playing with each other and transform them into a cohesive unit. It should help that seven of the players came from Manchester United’s highly respected girls’ regional talent club.
These seven—Fran Bentley, Kirsty Hanson, Naomi Hartley, Emily Ramsey, Ella Toone, Millie Turner, Katie Zelem—are back for the reds, and Zelem in particular, is coming off of a very successful campaign with Juventus, having won the Series A Championship.
Jess Sigsworth and Kirsty Hanson look to be up front, having netted a combined 25 goals last season, and given the personnel, they should continue to improve in a system conducive to transitioning the ball from defense to offense via their fullbacks.
The Red Devils look to the start of their first season in August, and the anticipation for what had seemed like an impossibility only a few seasons ago, a second women’s team in Manchester, is building quickly.