Manchester City Women have wasted no time in putting their disappointing Super League season behind them with two new signings. Both Lauren Hemp and Caroline Weir will join the club this summer.
Although they eventually finished second, the team fell away badly towards the end of the season. Team boss Nick Cushing has reacted quickly, bringing in two promising British players and releasing two league winners.
Manchester City Women Start Summer Rebuild
Their first signing was PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year Lauren Hemp from fellow Super League team Bristol City. Seventeen-year-old striker Hemp bagged nine goals last season, including a goal of the season contender against Arsenal.
Hemp says her style of play is creative and direct. This is just what the City team lacked as they struggled for goals despite dominating possession.
“The facilities are amazing and the atmosphere seems so nice with the environment and the people,” said Hemp. “Playing against City for Bristol, I always looked up to the City players and now we’re going to be teammates.”
Hemp has been a fixture in the England youth set-up and scored four times in seven U-19 appearances. She was also voted England Youth Player of the Year in 2017.
The club have also signed Scottish international Caroline Weir from local rivals Liverpool Ladies on a two-year deal.
Weir scored six goals in a stuttering Liverpool side but is a Scotland regular at 22 with 40 caps under her belt, scoring six times. She was also voted her national Player of the Year in 2016 and will join some of her international teammates at the Etihad.
“I’ve spoken to Claire Emslie a little bit already as I know her very well, she’s excited for me to join and I saw Jen Beattie earlier as well – it’s great to see some familiar faces, but I’m excited to meet the rest of my teammates too,” says Weir.
Nick Cushing is confident the Dunfermline born midfielder will add technical ability to his squad.
Ross and Middag out
The club’s new signings are buys for the future but Jane Ross and Tessel Middag are packing their bags as the club declined to renew their contracts.
Middag was a mid-season signing in 2016, winning two trophies in her first four months at the club. The experienced Dutch international’s steady progress at the club was halted by a cruciate injury that kept her on the sidelines for ten months.
She was a fan’s favourite but the club’s management needed to free some space in the squad.
Another fan favourite Scottish international Jane Ross is also looking for a new club. This is despite being top scorer in the 2016 season. Ross was a key player when City won their first league title and a second Continental Cup.
Her record of 25 goals in 61 games is a very solid return, but Ross has recently struggled for game time. This is despite the obvious lack of aerial power up front this season. There was some unease from fans on social media that a proven goalscorer is going when other forwards have struggled badly this season.
Two for the Future
City’s comings and goings are part of a repair job after a trophyless season.
One of Cushing’s strengths is he not afraid to give young players like Georgia Stanway a go. He’s banking on Hemp realising her huge potential, and Weir continuing her progress to becoming a top-class attacking midfielder.
Both will add to a squad that looks to catch up to Chelsea in the revamped Women’s Super League. They will also be looking to the new players contributing so they can go one better after reaching successive Champion’s League semi-finals.
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