Defensive Duo Hail Kirk Effect On Blue Girls

Ladies defenders Georgia Brougham and Gabby George insist the clean sheet in the 0-0 draw at Brighton on Sunday show that Everton are making progress under new manager Willie Kirk.

The Blue Girls have found clean sheets hard to come by so far this season, with the shutout of the Seagulls just their second of the campaign.

A resilient defensive performance at the People’s Pension Stadium in Crawley limited Brighton to few chances. After former Everton striker Aileen Whelan hit the bar early on, Albion rarely troubled Blue Girls keeper Kirstie Levell, who made routine stops from Dani Buet and Ini Umotong.  

At the other end, Inessa Kaagman, Angharad James and Elise Hughes all had chances to win it for the visitors.

But while the result left the Toffees frustrated, the clean sheet was a welcome positive and shows the impact Kirk and assistant manager Chris Roberts have had on the training ground.

“As defenders, that’s what we want - clean sheets,” said Brougham. “I think as a whole we’re frustrated that we haven’t come away with the three points. 

“But you can see the improvements that Willie and Chris have made. I think there has been a massive change since they’ve come in and everyone’s working hard [to make us stronger].

“It is going to take time to fully understand and get used to how they want us to play. But we’ll keep working on it on the training ground and it will all come together.”


Fellow defender George’s attention now switches to the international scene after she was picked by Lionesses coach Phil Neville for a training camp in Qatar.

England are finalising their preparations for this summer’s World Cup in France so the 21-year-old knows she will have to impress if she is to retain her place in Neville’s squad for the tournament.

But George joins up with the rest of the England squad in good spirits off the back of a strong showing against Brighton.

“I’m made up to get a clean sheet,” she added. “If you don’t concede, you don’t lose games. We’ve been leaking a few sloppy goals of late, so it’s good to go out there and get a clean sheet.

“There is still work to do. We’ve got to go back to the training ground [after the international break], work hard and hopefully transfer that into three points next time. 

“I’m excited to go away with England. It’s a training camp so it is a chance for me to go and showcase what I’ve been learning off Willie and Chris over the past few months.

“I want to go there and put my stamp on it and prove that I’m ready to be a Lioness.”



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