Willie Kirk Column: Matching Reading's Intensity And Kelly's England Boost

In his latest column, Everton Women manager Willie Kirk discusses how he stays in touch with the Toffees players on international duty, the "huge boost" an England call-up will have given in-form forward Chloe Kelly and the intense physical test Reading will provide in Sunday's WSL encounter...

We’ve had a number of players away playing for their countries over the past 10 days and it is great to see their quality recognised at international level.

We are in contact with those players most days. All members of our squad fill in a daily wellness report, and they still do when they are on international duty. It’s a good way of keeping in touch with them in terms of their daily wellbeing.

For us as coaching staff, the international break always gives a chance to work a little bit closer with individuals who are still here at USM Finch Farm. They have been working very hard and it’s a been a valuable period for us.

KELLY’S ENGLAND BOOST

Chloe Kelly is one of those players who has been away with her country. Having originally been named as a training player for the England squad, she was promoted to the full matchday squad for their game against Portugal.

Although she didn’t get on during that game, receiving a full call-up is a huge boost for her. She is doing great for us.

I spoke to [England manager] Phil Neville earlier in the week and he was telling me how well she’d been doing in training and how she deserved that full call-up. She is in very good form and we’ll keep helping her to produce that on a weekly basis.


QUICK TURNAROUND

We’ll have all the squad back in on Friday, so we’ll have two days’ preparation for our WSL game at Reading on Sunday. It’s not a huge amount of time but it’s not abnormal.

Hopefully everybody comes back fit and healthy and we’ll have two training sessions to put in place a plan for the game.

There are challenges in terms of the short turnaround but if you’ve got that consistency in terms of defensive structures, building from the back and attacking, it’s only small tweaks you make depending on the opposition.

It’s still early in the season so we’re still working on a lot of things. By the time you get to international breaks in March, everybody knows what they are doing. The longer the season goes on and the more ingrained our matchday plans are, the easier it gets.

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04:03

MY JOURNEY: DANIELLE TURNER

Defender on her path from being told she couldn't play football in school to becoming Everton's Club captain.

 
READING'S PHYSICAL TEST

Reading are always a strong, physical team. They have got a lot of international experience. We beat them 3-2 towards the end of last season and that was a big victory for us.

I want us to continue the good work from the Man City game in our previous match. We played very well against an excellent team, and no-one could have begrudged us a point.

Us and Reading will be quite evenly matched, and, first and foremost, we need to match them physically. They are always a very good team in that aspect – in terms of the intensity they play at and the distance they cover.

We want to outrun them, outfight them and out-strength them. After that, it’s down to showing our technical ability and executing our tactical plan.

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00:48

EVERTON STARS MAKE COMMUNITY VISITS

Fresh from second win of the WSL season, Blues help out with EitC programmes.

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