Back on track with our timings (no pesky cycling today, phew!), today’s Friday WSL preview focusses on Everton L.F.C.
Manager – Andy Spence
Appointed in November 2012, following Mo Marley’s departure to focus on her career with the F.A. (and, as only the second woman in England to complete the UEFA Pro Licence, is there any more natural successor for when Hope Powell eventually steps down?), Andy Spence’s step up from his former position of Assistant Manager is welcome reward for his work in both that capacity and in his stint as Director of the Everton Centre of Excellence. Despite seeing his playing squad weakened with some high profile departures in the close season, Spence’s work in producing high calibre youth talent ought to bode well for the blue side of the Mersey.
Last Time Out
3rd – and coming in at just a point behind 2nd placed Birmingham Ladies, Everton’s challenge was keenly felt throughout the season.
With 60 international caps and 12 international goals, Jill Scott may be Everton L.F.C.’s most recognisable talent and current first-choice England ‘keeper Rachel Brown may be the more widely acknowledged, but from this writer’s (slightly biased) perspective, up-and-coming striker Toni Duggan is the player to keep an eye on this season. Equally comfortable playing off the wing as in the forward positions, Duggan’s ability to find space is almost unrivalled in the WSL and her deftness of touch is staggering for a player of just 21. Besides, anyone that can put the finishing touches to a move like this is alright by us.
Not so much a weak link as a potential body blow, the departure of Fara Williams and Natasha Dowie to bitter rivals Liverpool is a serious threat to the Toffees’ WSL challenge this season. As a former captain, the departure of Williams is particularly hard to take and, at only 28-years old, has moved largely at her peak. The 10 goals she contributed to Everton’s 2012 campaign will be difficult to replace.
Away vs. Liverpool Ladies, 23/03/13 (Continental Cup)
This may be controversial given the club’s close-season departures and the resignation of inspirational coach Mo Marley, but we’re predicting big things for Everton L.F.C. this season. A tilt at the title may be too much to expect, but given the strength through the spine of the team in Rachel Brown, Jill Scott and the aforementioned Toni Duggan, there is serious talent within this team.