Women’s Super League Preview: Everton Ladies

By Neil Evans. The new WSL season gets underway in less than a week! Neil Evans has been assessing the contenders ahead of the competition - now in it's fourth season. In this feature he previews Everton Ladies.

A reasonable 5th placed finish in the 2013 campaign means that the loss of key players, Jill Scott, and the prolific and talismanic striker Toni Duggan will be of concern of fans of Everton Ladies. Manager Andy Spence will need his lengthy, in-depth knowledge of the women’s game to keep the Blues tradition of remaining competitive in the new WSL era.

The Toffees finished third in the 2011 and 2012 WSL seasons

The Toffees finished third in the 2011 and 2012 WSL seasons

Last season wasn’t by any means all doom and gloom. Toni Duggan’s goals meant that Everton carried a threat (they ran their neighbours and eventual champions, Liverpool, close in both derby games). The second worst defence in the 2013 campaign was, in many respects, offset by their potent attack and so much this term will depend on Nikita Parris; a precocious talent and a striker who is pacey and skilful, and a product of the club’s centre of excellence. Jody Handley’s huge experience will be vital to a largely young squad and the former England international will look to compliment Parris’ boundless energy up top.

Elsewhere in the squad, Rachel Brown-Finnis is one of England’s top ‘keepers, with over 70 caps, and will be integral to the organisation of the team from back to front. Fern Williams and Lindsay Johnson provide experience at centre back alongside a youthful back line which includes Paige Williams and Alex Greenwood, to name just two. New skipper Michelle Hinnigan is a dependable and combative midfielder, she’s been handed the arm band following Scott’s departure and it will carry massive responsibility. Kelly Jones, alongside her twin sister Vicky (in defence) will also be a key player. Both joined from (and support) Liverpool, so they’ll be up for the Merseyside derby’s this season! Also in midfield, Brooke Chaplen will be important in a holding midfield role having played in a variety of positions over the last few campaigns.

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Rachel Brown had a spell playing in the US in the late 1990s when she felt Americans had a more positive attitude towards women’s football

The good news for Everton Ladies fans is there is a nucleus of a young, hungry and talented players in this squad. Keeping Nikita Parris means she will be the player that will need to deliver the goals previously scored by Duggan.

On the debit side, Scott and Duggan (established internationals) leave enormous gaps to fill and there are bound to be questions as to whether there is enough experience in the squad to maintain their proud tradition at the top table of women’s football. This season may prove to be the Toffee’s toughest test yet.

Prediction: 6th to 8th

Key Player: Nikita Parris

Everton begin their 2014 season away to Birmingham City Ladies on April 16th (7.30pm) at Solihull Moors FC.

Check out Neil’s other previews:

Notts County Ladies

Bristol Academy WFC

Birmingham City Ladies

Follow @swinfan69

1 Comment on Women’s Super League Preview: Everton Ladies

  1. A really good read, you are right it will be our biggest and toughest season yet. I do feel we have a good balance in the squad of youth and experience and a brilliant team bond too, having Ferny back is a massive boost. Simone Magill will be one to watch and we all know what Nikitta Parris can do. Onward’s and upward’s for us blues following Andy Spence’s blue and white army. 🙂

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