Today, Manchester United Women will kick off the start of the new WSL season.
Amongst the fanbase there is a hint of trepidation and nerves after the turbulent nine months that the club has faced.
The women’s team were flying high nine months ago as they sat at the top of the WSL table but a run of poor performances and injuries mounting meant the team slipped from top to fourth and out of the champions league places by the end of the season.
Adding insult to injury was the shock resignation of Casey Stoney.
Now, with new manager Marc Skinner captaining the ship, United can begin to rebuild but it is no easy task.
Key players Lauren James and Amy Turner have left along with world cup winners, Tobin Heath and Christen Press – the former opting to go to rivals Arsenal.
However, there is positivity and hope in the squads younger members such as Alessia Russo.
Russo joined the club in the last transfer window, scoring three in her first four matches, she showed promise.
A hamstring injury unfortunately ruled the youngster out of the majority of the season and she will be keen to get back on the field and pick up where she left off.
Ex-United goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain believes she may be the key to United getting Champions League football next season.
Speaking to The Telegraph she said, “She can be a really exciting talent, not just for United but also for England. Before she got injured, I was really impressed, she scored goals, held the ball up well and was a target player for the team, and that’s what you need, someone who can guarantee goals.”
Speaking of Marc Skinner’s ability as the new manager, Chamberlain added, “He’ll get them confident and enjoying their football, and if the players are enjoying what they’re doing then they’ll do the best they can and put in performances.”
Chamberlain knows that Champions league football is her old club’s number one priority and she’s under no illusion; she knows how difficult that will be. “It’s going to be a difficult challenge. We’ve seen how much Everton have strengthened, and Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City are all full of top international talent, so it will be very difficult.”
“But that’s the challenge, that’s the target, and that’s the pressure that you have as Manchester United. Anybody wearing the Manchester United badge is expected to win. That pressure to perform is engrained in being a Manchester United player.”
Despite the rumours of unrest amongst players due to the training facilities and conditions, Skinner believes they are well resourced and is confident he can pull the squad together.