Stoney: Man Utd have made statement of intent

“If you look at the quality of the league in terms of the players now here, it is definitely the best WSL I have ever known,” said the head coach

Last Updated: 11/09/20 9:19pm

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Manchester United head coach Casey Stoney talks about their three new signings
Manchester United head coach Casey Stoney talks about their three new signings

Casey Stoney believes Manchester United have made a strong statement of intent with their signing of two World Cup winners and an England international this week.

United had a productive final week of the Women’s Super League transfer window as they brought in United States forwards Tobin Heath and Christen Press, and England forward Alessia Russo.

Coming after holding champions Chelsea to a 1-1 draw in their season opener last weekend, head coach Stoney feels United’s ambitions are clear.

The former England captain told Sky Sports News: “We are always trying to build, develop and grow.

“Obviously we have been doing it gradually but when you sign the three players we signed this week it does make a statement.

Stoney has described Alessia Russo as a 'real talent'
Stoney has described Alessia Russo as a ‘real talent’

“We are always looking to bring in quality where we can as a squad and I feel we have done that.”

Stoney says the squad will benefit playing alongside two players who have won the World Cup twice.

Heath and Press have each been capped over 100 times for the national team, and were both part of the USA’s last two World Cup winning squads in 2015 and also in 2019 when they beat the Netherlands in the final.

“First and foremost I’m a head coach and I’m always looking at how we can improve the squad, how we can improve our environment,” she added.

Tobin Heath and Christen Press won the World Cup with the USA in 2015 and 2019
Tobin Heath and Christen Press won the World Cup with the USA in 2015 and 2019

“Bringing in World Cup winners with a winning mentality, professionalism and know-how, and obviously two players that can really add to our attack and improve our players day in, day out playing against them was something that I was really looking forward to.”

Heath and Press are yet to join the squad as they undertake a period of quarantine but Russo will be available for Sunday’s game at Birmingham.

Stoney feels Manchester United's attack has been strengthened
Stoney feels Manchester United’s attack has been strengthened

Stoney expects their experience to have an influence on their team-mates as time goes on.

She said: “The amount of time we spend on the training field is far greater than we play, so the opportunity to play with and against and raise the standards in the environment daily will only benefit us in our performances.”

Stoney trains with players Katie Zelem, Jane Ross, Abbie McManus, Millie Turner
Stoney trains with players Katie Zelem, Jane Ross, Abbie McManus, Millie Turner

Standards have been raised across the competition with, notably, Manchester City also active in the transfer market.

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Former England forward Lianne Sanderson hopes the big-name arrivals to the Women’s Super League will remain in the league for a long period of time
Former England forward Lianne Sanderson hopes the big-name arrivals to the Women’s Super League will remain in the league for a long period of time

City’s new recruits also include two American World Cup winners in Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis while they have also brought England international Lucy Bronze back from Lyon, along with former United full-back Alex Greenwood.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have signed one of Europe’s best players in Denmark’s Pernille Harder.

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Charlton Women’s boss Riteesh Mishra believes the gap between the WSL and the Championship is closing, with more players dropping down a level due to big-money signings in the top division
Charlton Women’s boss Riteesh Mishra believes the gap between the WSL and the Championship is closing, with more players dropping down a level due to big-money signings in the top division

Stoney said: “If you look at the quality of the league in terms of the players now here, it is definitely the best WSL I have ever known.

“I do think it will be the greatest WSL ever because of the quality and depth of squads now.”

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