Another summer has flown by and another season of the WSL is almost upon us with none other than Manchester United looming on the opening day. City have been busy in both departments in the transfer market with incomings and outgoings galore.
City lost last season’s WSL Player of the Year, Nikita Parris to Champions League winners Olympique Lyon but gained England’s World Cup hero and FIFA’s The Best nominee Ellen White from Birmingham. Aoife Mannion, Laura Coombs and Lee Geum-Min are just three of a host of names also to join the blues in the summer.
With what seems like a complete reshuffle of Nick Cushing’s squad we ask, what is his best XI? We’ll here’s what we think…
Goalkeeper – Karen Bardsley (England)
KB was magnificent for England in France and will look to take that form into the new season. Ellie Roebuck however, has been magnificent in preseason and has shown just what ability she has. It will be a brilliant battle between the two for the spot between the sticks but i’m just giving Bardsley the nod here.
Left-Back – Demi Stokes (England)
Despite competition from Alex Greenwood this summer, Demi Stokes seemed to make the left side her own and won Lionesses manager Phil Neville’s trust. She’ll be desperate to get back into action and despite her being in and out of the side last season, I think she’ll be a mainstay on the left this season.
Centre-Back – Steph Houghton © (England)
Is there anything I can say that’s not been said about our captain? Another outstanding summer captaining England to a semi-final shows what an outstanding leader she is. It must of broke lots more than just my heart when she didn’t put away the penalty in the semi-final to give her a moment I think she deserved.
Centre-Back – Aofie Mannion (England)
One of Nick Cushing’s summer signings is Birmingham City’s Centre-Back Aofie Mannion and seems like a natural partner for Steph Houghton at the heart of defence. Mannion had a superb 2018/19 campaign, making the WSL Team of the Year and completing the second highest number of passes behind none other than, Steph Houghton. The other option for this position is, of course, Gemma Bonner who missed most of last season with an injury. Mannion has also been trailed in right-back in pre-season which could accommodate Bonner.
Right-Back – Matilde Fidalgo (Portugal)
Nick Cushing’s second summer signing was 25 year old Matilde Fidalgo from SC Braga. The Portuguese international helped Braga to their first ever league title last season and apparently spoke to men’s superstar Bernardo Silva to convince her to join the Blues. Her ability to get forward will no doubt add a new outlook to the side that we really haven’t had since losing Lucy Bronze.
Central Midfielder – Jill Scott
One of the Blues’ longest servants was the first obvious pick in midfield. Scott was immense in England’s World Cup campaign and was crucial to Phil Neville’s progress, even picking up a goal in the process. One of the first names on the team-sheet.
Central Midfielder – Kiera Walsh
There was fears Kiera Walsh wouldn’t even be at the club come September with various outlets reporting that she handed in a transfer request. But she’s still here (thank god) and Nick Cushing seems to have convinced her to stay and that’s really good news for us.
Left Winger – Caroline Weir
Since joining the club last year, Weir has added some superb flair and technique to the City ranks. Scoring six goals last year, Weir has shown she is a versatile option and adds quality all over the pitch.
Right Winger – Janine Beckie
The Canadian will be massively important this season in City’s success and with Cushing trailing her on the wing in pre-season, that where she could operate in the coming season.
Striker – Georgia Stanway
Let’s be honest here, Georgia Stanway is going to be one of the best women’s players in the world. She’s only 19 and she’s been making her mark on both club and international stage. A player with bags of ability that will terrorise defences for years to come, let’s just now hope that it’s at City forever.
Striker – Ellen White
I’ve never been so excited by a strike force as I have been by the prospect of these two starting together. Unfortunately for us, Ellen has had to have knee surgery and will miss a few games. However, when she’s back she a guaranteed source of goals.