The 2020/21 WSL season ended more than two months ago and WSL 2021/22 is only seven weeks away, but there finally seems to be some positive news for Manchester United fans after the most difficult period in the club’s short history.
The announcement of Casey Stony’s resignation came out of the blue in May, but was later revealed to have followed months of frustration behind the scenes at training facilities.
When Stoney was recently introduced as the head coach of the new San Diego NWSL franchise, the new club was praised for landing one of the brightest young coaching talents in the game.
For United, it was a blow to lose her. Even more of a stroke has been the club’s slow appointment of a replacement. Athletic reported in early July that players have become frustrated with the situation, after being informed some time ago that the process had reduced a shortlist to two finalists. But the squad has felt left out in the dark over the club’s ambitions.
Casey Stoney has not yet been replaced but a new boss announcement is expected soon / James Gill – Danehouse / Getty Images
Finally, there seems to be some movement after BBC Sports’ Emma Sanders tweeted on Friday that United are down to “complete contract deals” with the new manager.
Recruitment or lack thereof has also been a sore sport for fans. United supporters have seen Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea all push forward with offers to strengthen, the latter have even agreed on the transfer of United star Lauren James. Everton have also recruited strongly in an attempt to close the gap in the top three and skip United in the process.
It was probably time for Jess Sigsworth and Jane Ross to move on if United were to reach the elite level in women’s football in England and in Europe. But Tobin Heath and Christen Press could not be persuaded to stay a second season, while the losing influential defender Amy Turner is a blow and the aforementioned James is a generational talent who will thrive at Chelsea.
United risks going backwards without strong recruitment, a situation that has been left in limbo without a manager to help guide it, but the first signing of the summer seems to be just around the corner in the form of Norway’s international Vilde Boe Risa.
Norway’s Wild Boe Risa will soon join United / Socrates Images / Getty Images
The talented midfielder, who has been at Sandviken at home this year but previously won a Swedish title with Kopparbergs / Goteborg, seems to have had his registration with the Norwegian association updated in recent days to reflect a change of club to United.
It is a start but more new faces are needed and especially going forward. United fans are hoping that prolific striker Bethany England will become the Chelsea player included in the deal for James, which is rumored to be worth up to £ 200,000 in total. England were the WSL and FWA players of the year 2019 but have gone out of favor in a highly competitive Chelsea squad.
United still have many questions to answer and much to prove.
An unfortunate black mark this week was seen by key defender Millie Turner named Amy, her former defensive partner who is now in Orlando, in adidas’ launch kit for the new home kit. Turner called it on social media and even if it was adidas’ mistake, United must ensure that their female players are treated to the same standard as their male counterparts.
Given that I’ve been at Manchester United for 3 years and an adidas athlete for 2 … You would like to think adidas would get my name right. ?? ♀️ pic.twitter.com/S3wp18FEf5
– Millie Turner (@MillieTurner_) July 15, 2021
The second of two condemning recent reports from The Athletic suggested that a substandard training plan may have been blamed for the number of injuries United players suffered in the second half of last season, which ultimately spurred the challenge for a Champions League place.
It is also that the arrival of the USWNT duo Tobin Heath and Christen Press, both accustomed to world-class facilities, proved to be a turning point for the rest of the squad, as the Americans were surprised to be greeted and the rest realized that things could and did should be much better.
The squad moved the training base to the club’s main Carrington complex in the middle of last season, but their pitch has been hit by drainage problems. United have said all the right words about improving the facilities, but promise to fix the problem before the new season does not seem to have succeeded and now it may be November before the work is carried out, says The Athletic.
It is obvious that not all problems are a quick fix, but United still have time to turn things around before the new season and ensure that 2021/22 does not see the club go backwards after three successful years since they were formed. However, that window closes quickly and there is now minimal room for further delays or mistakes.
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