Kirk On Giving Free-Scoring Blues Freedom To Express Themselves

Willie Kirk believes giving Everton’s explosive attacking talents the freedom to express themselves has been key to his team’s free-scoring performances this season.

Everton host Brighton & Hove Albion at Walton Hall Park on Sunday (1pm) aiming to sustain their perfect 2020/21 league record heading into the international break.

In winning their opening four WSL games, Everton have scored 14 goals and conceded only one.

The Blues have also beaten Chelsea and Birmingham City to reach the 2020 FA Cup final, where they will meet Manchester City on Sunday 1 November.

Everton already boast nine different goalscorers so far this term, which boss Kirk says reflects the Toffees’ forward-thinking philosophy.

“We give our attack-minded players a licence to play," he said.

“We allow them to make their own decisions and give them freedom on the pitch, and I think they enjoy that.

“With the players we’ve recruited, that’s probably part of the attraction of coming here, they’re allowed that freedom.

“The whole squad at the moment is bouncing into training, everybody’s looking forward to the next game and the next challenge.

“We want to keep this league record going for as long as possible. We have got another big challenge in front of us on Sunday, but one the players are looking forward to.”

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02:37

HIGHLIGHTS: EVERTON WOMEN 3-1 WEST HAM UNITED

In-form Blues make it four WSL wins from four.


Everton face a Brighton team which has taken four points from their four WSL matches in 2020/21.

The south coast side, managed by former England boss Hope Powell, were beaten 5-0 by Arsenal last time out but showed their resilience earlier in the season in securing an impressive 0-0 draw at Manchester City.

“Brighton get a lot of numbers behind the ball and are strong on the counter-attack,” explained Kirk.

“Hope’s teams have all got a certain style about them – they’re so fit, so hard-working and well organised. 

"They attack at pace on the counter and get numbers forward and into the backline.

“We have analysed their strengths, as well as some areas we think we can target.”


Everton goalkeeper Sandy MacIver and midfielder Izzy Christiansen were named in Phil Neville’s England squad earlier this week for the Lionesses’ upcoming friendly against Germany.

Christiansen is in line to add to her 31 international caps, while MacIver is eyeing a senior debut for her country.

Kirk is convinced the 22-year-old keeper boasts the attributes to be an England regular.

“I believe Sandy will be England’s number one in the upcoming years,” he said.

“How quickly that is, I’m not sure, because she has a lot of really good competition.

“There are probably four of five keepers who think they could be England’s number one. I think Phil has said this week there is a spot there to be taken, and I back Sandy to be the one that can grasp that opportunity.

“Sandy is developing a lot, she has still got areas to improve and work on. She knows that herself, she is quite grounded.

“To keep someone like Tinny Korpela out of the team at Everton, she must be doing well, because Tinny’s a top goalkeeper as well.”

Kirk believes other members of his Everton squad could also force their way into the England reckoning before long.

“There’s certainly a few knocking on the door,” he said.

“Meg Finnigan’s performances this season have been exceptional.

“Meg has worked so hard on her mental strength and mindset and has come back from lockdown a different player.

“Dan Turner, too, has been excellent. For me, she is the most consistent left-back in the league. I never see her have a bad game.

“We’ve also got Poppy Pattinson, who will in the future be an England player, and Molly Pike who is also very young. Those ones will just need a little bit more experience but they have the quality to make that step."