Izzy Christiansen says the passion and enthusiasm of Everton’s coaching team has made her “love football even more” and further intensified her desire to play a central role as the Club strives to compete at the top end of English football.
England international Christiansen joined Everton from European champions Lyon in the winter transfer window but was unable to make a first-team appearance for the Blues owing to injury and then the season being curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Midfielder Christiansen has been fully fit for the past two months and, while admitting being unable to showcase her qualities on the pitch has been frustrating, explained how manager Willie Kirk’s methods have made an extremely positive impression.
The former PFA Player of the Year winner says the Everton coaching team’s expertise and attention to detail has helped her fine tune several aspects of her game during lockdown.
“Willie Kirk was one of the main reasons I wanted to join Everton,” she said.
“He's been a really positive influence on me so far and I've only been at the Club for five months.
“And after many phone calls during the lockdown with Willie and [assistant manager] Chris Roberts, as well as our technical and analysis teams, I have found my love for football has grown even more.
“I can feel their passion and enthusiasm for the game - they've been sending clips on the online analysis systems we use, picking out passes that I played about three years ago…it’s fantastic.
“They’ve been looking at things we can do better as a team, and what they’ve liked from our performances.
“That constant dialogue has just added to the fuel [of wanting to play again]. I can't wait to get back and work with the coaches properly, when it's safe to go back in.
“I'm in a really good place and I'm excited for next season.”
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GET TO KNOW: IZZY CHRISTIANSEN
The 2019/20 campaign saw Everton Women move into a new purpose-built stadium at Walton Hall Park, less than a mile away from Goodison Park.
Christiansen, who was at Everton as a teenager before moving to Manchester City in 2009, explained why the Blues’ new home has special significance for her.
“In my first spell at Everton, that's where I used to train,” she said.
“I remember my mum used to take me over to Walton Hall Park for training at 5pm, so I'd have to finish school in Macclesfield at 3.30pm, and we'd really struggle against the traffic to get there for five. We normally made it with about one minute to spare!
“Back then, there were the likes of [current England and Atletico Madrid striker] Toni Duggan at the Club, and I used to train with her.
“She used to live near the training ground, so she was able to get an hour at home before training, get some toast ,and was already running around the training pitch before we got started. I was still waking myself up after being in the car for an hour!
“I have a lot of good memories from training there, though.
“It's great being back there now, seeing how that complex has developed and now it's our home stadium.
“We're looking forward to making that our fortress.”