Monday, July 22, 2024

‘She is a massive part of the culture that has made this club successful’ Eidevall delighted with Kim Little contract renewal

Arsenal Women coach Jonas Eidevall is delighted this his captain Kim Little has put pen to paper on a new contract with the club. The 32-year-old extended her deal this week having already appeared for Arsenal on 290 occasions.

In his pre-Manchester United press conference, Eidevall could not hide his delight and talked up the importance of his skipper. “Long-term that is very good news for us,” he said. “She is a massive part of the culture that has made this club successful. In my eyes, that will continue to keep this club successful too.

“The person she is on the pitch, setting those standards, with herself and others and constantly having this high consistency of performance, it comes from what she does outside the pitch. When you combine these two things that is why she is a leader for this group.”

Little turns 33 next month and has already retired from international football for Scotland but Eidevall doesn’t believe the player has to consider club level retirement for a few years if she doesn’t want to.

“I was fortunate to work with Caroline Seger in Sweden, she is close to 40-years-old and she has been a top player for many years.

“If you take care of yourself and still have the motivation to keep chasing those percentages every day, age doesn’t have to be a limiting factor. But it requires a lot, it isn’t for everyone. You need to have the motivation and the talent but at the moment, Kim has both.”

Little is out for the remainder of the season but Eidevall has called upon his team to adapt to yet another key absence with Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema missing for the majority of the season and Leah Williamson and Rafaelle missing the first half of the campaign.

“It would hurt any team to lose a player like Kim but we have managed so far this season to handle absence from so many great players. We need to show that adaptability again, keeping the key principles in our play but adapting slightly to the individuals we have.

“Leah (Williamson) is one of the options. As a coach you always want more options! But we have a lot of quality in our squad and I have a lot of trust and belief in the players we have and I believe that’s where our focus should be- on what we have and not what we don’t have.”

Meanwhile, the Arsenal boss admitted he was confused as to why his team’s trip to table topping Manchester United, originally scheduled for Saturday but moved due to Arsenal’s qualification for the Champions League semi-finals, has been moved to Wednesday while Chelsea, who also qualified for the semi-finals, will play their scheduled game for the weekend, later in the season.

“Of course you need to play in the league and the Champions League. I find it very odd that we are the only team of the two English teams in the semi-final who are forced to play before the semi-final.

“I have a really hard time getting my head around that because it’s almost like you want the other team to have a better chance to succeed than the other.

“But we can only focus on what we do have and this is the schedule we have, we need to go to Manchester and play well there and then we need to go to Wolfsburg and play well there.

“But, of course, I would prefer to have the situation the other team (Chelsea) has to have no game, to just train and prepare for the Champions League game.

“I can’t see the reasons for it, it’s something we have to look into after at the appropriate time because I can’t see the logic.”

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Peter Story Teller

I am sometimes a conspiracy theorist but to be fair Chelsea did play an FA Cup semi final at the weekend while we did diddly squat. My problem has always been plonking internationals right in the heart of the league season but I think we are relatively unscathed from the latest round which is not always the case. However, I couldn’t help noticing the lacklustre Lionesses performance against the Aussies so perhaps the players felt that they have had enough and could do with a break now and again.

Gunner H

Kim Little is a role model of perfect professional and personal standards.

And she takes a penalty better than Maradona!

Fun Gunner

You and me both, Jonas. On all counts.

Collibosher

When I was at school (boys only), there was this annoying kid who, during the breaks when we played football, could keep the ball for ages, and no-one could get the ball off him. The difference with Kim, apart from being female, is that she doesn’t do it to prove she can, or to show off. She does it to smuggle the ball out of tight situations, to progress the play, and has the vision to find a pass. Her close control is special. And if you’re an opponent, just as annoying as that kid at school.

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