Willie Kirk Column: Deserved England Calls And Everton's 'Landmark' Day

In his latest column for evertonfc.com, Willie Kirk discusses his delight at the team's move back to the city of Liverpool, this week's England call-ups for Chloe Kelly and Sandy MacIver, and why he's demanding a big performance from his players on their 'landmark' day at Walton Hall Park...

A NEW ERA BEGINS


Sunday's match - our first at our new home - is a historic occasion for our Football Club.

It’s a day we’ve all been waiting for and I want Walton Hall Park to become a place where the players enjoy playing and where the opposition find it really difficult. We want to create a fortress.

I feel it will be a fantastic place for Everton fans to come, too.

It’s just one mile from Goodison and L4 is very much the Club’s home. We need a strong fanbase and this move into the heart of the city is a big part of the journey we are on.

>>>TICKETS FOR SUNDAY'S MATCH AGAINST MANCHESTER UNITED HAVE SOLD OUT<<<

We need to do our part to make sure there is a product people will enjoy and want to watch. There is a joint responsibility there for staff and players, and also for the Everton supporters to create an atmosphere that is renowned around the WSL, that gets spoken about. I am sure they will.

But, on Sunday, our focus needs to be as much on the match as it is the occasion.

It is another chance for us to go fourth in the table but we will need to overcome a good side in Manchester United to do it.

We’ve had two chances to move into that top four in recent weeks and haven’t taken them. I’ve told the players they shouldn’t let this chance pass them by, because we have prepared extremely well.

I am confident we will have strong, positive performance befitting of what is landmark day for Everton.

CHELSEA AWAIT AFTER COMPLETE CUP PERFORMANCE

We head into Sunday's match on the back of an excellent result at Bristol City in our FA Cup fifth-round tie on Monday night.

We won 5-0 and it was a complete performance from the team.

First of all, I thought we worked very, very hard. There was a real sense of urgency and purpose to the team’s play both in and out of possession.

We pressed them really high and aggressively. We got the ball down and played.

We showed a lot of patience in and around their box, which brought us opportunities, including from set pieces, and that ultimately brought us goals.

>>>TICKETS FOR SUNDAY'S MATCH AGAINST MANCHESTER UNITED HAVE SOLD OUT<<<

We have got a lot of talent in the forward areas and to get goals from four different scorers was very pleasing.

Lucy Graham got two, while Esme Morgan, Inessa Kaagman and Hannah Cain were also on the scoresheet. I was very happy for Hannah, who opened her account for the season, and she was unlucky not to score another goal, too.

We’ve been handed a home tie against Chelsea in the quarter-finals, which is a big challenge but one we’re looking forward to.

In terms of little landmarks we are trying to create on this journey we are on, beating one of the top three is next on the list.

And there are few better occasions to do that than in an FA Cup quarter-final.

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01:56 Tue 18 Feb 2020

HIGHLIGHTS: BRISTOL CITY 0-5 EVERTON WOMEN

Blues cruise at Ashton Gate to set up FA Cup quarter-final meeting with Chelsea.



ENGLAND CALL DESERVED RECOGNITION FOR CHLOE AND SANDY

We had both Chloe Kelly and Sandy MacIver called up by England for the SheBelieves Cup this week and it's nothing less than the two of them deserve.

It might seem quick to people outside the WSL that Sandy has been selected but she has been working really hard in America before joining us last month and she’s been on the England radar.

She played in the Under-20 World Cup, she has been in and around the senior squad before, and she's a top goalkeeper.

I believe she can be England’s No.1 - or certainly challenging for that position - for years to come.

And that goes for Chloe in her position, too. She got her first England cap in 2018 and she's had to be patient and overcome injuries to get back to this point.

Her form this season has been well publicised, and I think everyone was just waiting for that call up.

We're delighted for them both and it's a deserved pat on the back for the hard work they've been putting in here at Everton.

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