FA WSL 1 club-by-club season preview: Everton
Toffees defender Danielle Turner looks ahead to the upcoming FA WSL 1 2017-18 season.
Plying their trade in FA Women’s Super League 1 for the first time since 2014, Everton are back at the top table of English football and can’t wait to get the season started.
After a couple of third-placed FA Women’s Super League 2 finishes in 2015 and 2016, the Blues stormed this year’s Spring Series and arrive in the top flight full of confidence.
Academy product and lightning-fast wing-back Danielle Turner talks us through the feeling in the camp ahead of the new season.
2016-17 in a nutshell
After finishing behind Bristol City and division champions Yeovil Town in 2016’s FA WSL 2, the Toffees dusted themselves down and won 2017’s Spring Series convincingly.
Everton won seven out of nine games in the competition, scoring a whopping 25 goals, and finishing four points clear of Doncaster Rovers Belles in second.
“We were obviously disappointed with the league form of the full FA WSL 2 season because, as a club, we were not able to reach our aim and get promoted automatically that way,” said Turner.
“But obviously in the Spring Series, we showed our qualities and why we deserve to be back in the FA WSL 1 on merit rather than by default.
“I think we deserve to be there based on our performances, we got better as the Spring Series went on.”
Turner’s Everton were founder members of the FA WSL back in 2011, and will feel they’re back in their rightful place, confident that they can make the step up.
“The team has changed quite a bit with six or seven new players,” said the defender. “So with many new faces around we’re all still very much getting used to how each other plays.
“As a group that won the Spring Series, we feel we have developed a winning mentality and the girls we brought in have already added to that, so I think we have a very competitive squad right now with new faces.
“We have a great manager at the helm [Andy Spence], I really want to push on now and do the best I can.
“No disrespect to FA WSL 2, but it’s definitely a massive step up as we’ll be playing against internationals week in, week out.
“We feel we’re ready for that though and we are there, just like any other teams, to compete and ultimately to stay up, avoid relegation and finish as high up the table as we can.
“We are not simply in there to just avoid relegation, we’re going to push further.”
Ins and Outs
The Blues have added some European talent in Siri Worm and Marthe Munstermann, signed from Dutch club FC Twente, who will be somewhat of an unknown quantity for opponents this season.
More familiar will be Welsh international Angharad James, signed from Yeovil Town and England Under-23s midfielder Jodie Brett, captured from Chelsea.
“We have a few new Dutch girls from FC Twente,” Turner added. “Where they’re used to winning titles ever year, they have that winning mentality and hopefully they can bring a different style of play to the table.
“We also have Angharad James who has played for Wales at international level and they’ve all integrated well.
“We have Jodie Brett coming in as well who is a very good communicator on the pitch and is the one that kind of looks to drive the team forward.”
Dedicated club man Andy Spence has been manager of the Toffees since 2012, but prior to that he’d been working as the assistant manager since 2004, under Mo Marley.
There was a brief spell in 2015 where Spence stepped down from the role, but he returned six months later and has now guided the Blues back to the top flight.
Everton pride themselves on their team spirit, led by captain Michelle Hinnigan, who has held the armband since the 2014 season.
Bright young thing
Centre-half Gabrielle George made her league debut for the Toffees in April 2014, against Notts County. She was an ever-present in the successful Spring Series campaign and looks likely to catch the eye in FA WSL 1.
“I think, as a team, we have a good relationship with the youth,” added Turner.
“Generally, as a squad, we are very young and, at 25, I’m the oldest.
“The likes of Gabrielle George, who is only 20 years old, will be looking to make an impression in FA WSL 1, and I think many of the young ones will be hoping to impress too.”
“I’d just say hard work and the will to work hard for the team really, to make sure you have the right attitude going into games.”
To buy tickets to an FA Women’s Super League match near you, click here: http://www.ticketstores.co.uk/fawsl/