Taylor: Euros star Kelly back to her best and reaping rewards of competition

Euro 2020 heroine Chloe Kelly is back to her best and seeing the benefits of the competition in the Man City squad, says manager Gareth Taylor.

Kelly, the scorer of England’s winning goal in the Euro 2021 final at Wembley last summer, has bounced back from an ACL injury which ruled her out of almost all of last season for her club to start 10 of their 11 WSL games this term.

The 25-year-old netted in City’s 7-0 thrashing of Sheffield United in the FA Cup last weekend, capping a rich vein of form for the winger which has seen her more than double her league minutes for the club from last season, with barely half of this campaign played and Leicester City next up on Sky Sports this weekend.

After another poor start to the season and back-to-back defeats, City are now on a run of nine league games without defeat with Kelly playing her part in their resurgence – with the likes of Australian international Hayley Raso pushing her for a place in the side too.

“I’m really pleased to see her in this rich vein of training really well and contributing, and looking like she really enjoyed herself last Sunday,” Taylor said.

“There is a decent level of competition there, Hayley Rasso’s contributing as well, with Julie [Blakstad] on the other side and Lauren Hemp. I think it’s really healthy competition for the players to have.

“With Chloe we have to take into account that she missed the whole of last season. When you don’t get the number of games under the belt that unfortunately the women’s game doesn’t always give you, it’s so difficult to get any kind of rhythm. This has been a nice period for us because it’s the first time that we’ve had a free week since the New Year.

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“I and the players really enjoy playing every few days but you can’t sustain that. It’s almost like feast or famine in the women’s game where you have loads of games in a short period or don’t have a game for ages so to try to get that rhythm, because that’s what they need, is really tough.

“She had an unbelievable high in the summer but we knew that wouldn’t change what we got in the first half of the season because, we knew we have a player maybe still trying to find her way back.

“We saw really amazing things from her in her first season. We know the players in there for sure and she showed that on Sunday and she showed that in training and she’s being pushed by the other players.

“It’s a really healthy place for her to be in and the biggest and most important thing is seeing her with a smile on her face.”

Kirk: How hard work trumps luck and why Leicester Women are on the rise

Willie Kirk pauses for thought when asked how his first three months as Leicester City Women manager have gone.

“I’ve loved it from the first minute… but if it had been purely left up to me, I’d have not taken the job.”

It is a frank assessment from the Scot, who stepped in to replace Lydia Bedford at the helm at the start of November. He was four months into a role as the club’s first director of football, having been sacked by Everton the previous October.

But results on the pitch dictated a change.

Read more about Man City’s opponents this weekend here.

Source : Sky Sports