WOMEN'S TEAM

Ismailov: 'Fans Can Inspire New-Look Everton'

Sarvar Ismailov says a summer of high-end recruitment underlines Everton’s growth into an emerging Women’s Super League force.

Everton completed their ninth close-season signing last month when teenage star Hanna Bennison – named the world’s best young female footballer this year – arrived for a club-record fee.

Midfielder Bennison joined international performers from Italy, Germany, France, England and homeland Sweden in choosing Willie Kirk’s Everton over rival suitors.

Manager Kirk’s side begin their campaign with a mouth-watering Goodison Park clash against Manchester City on Saturday.

City are expected to challenge for domestic and European honours this term but Everton Sporting and Commercial Director Ismailov insists a partisan Goodison crowd could tilt the contest in the hosts’ favour.


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“It is very important to see as many Evertonians as possible at the game” Ismailov told evertonfc.com.

“Supporters make a huge difference but it is especially the case with our fans, because of their joy and excitement and the energy they bring.

“It is such a big game at Goodison, during the men’s international break, and we hope every Evertonian will join us and help us get the three points.

“I am excited and feel confident Willie and the team will do very well.

“We did good business over the summer.

“The nine new players were exactly who Willie and I wanted, while eight players left the Club.

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“We are in a strong position and have a better squad than last season.

“It is a balanced and strong and happy squad, with a winning mentality.”

Kirk was quick off the mark in the summer trading window, acquiring French ex-Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Kenza Dali on the opening day of July.

Toni Duggan, capped 79 times by England and formerly with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, swiftly followed Dali through the door.

Sarvar Ismailov
We have a balanced and strong and happy squad, with a winning mentality.


The arrivals steadily continued, a double swoop for Swedish pair Anna Anvegard and Nathalie Bjorn and the purchase of compatriot Bennison sandwiching deals to bring in German defender Leonie Maier, Aurora Galli, the Italian midfielder, and the goalkeeping pair of Republic of Ireland international Courtney Brosnan and Icelander Cecilía Rúnarsdóttir.

Amid that buzz of activity, Everton completed a clean sweep of victories from five pre-season fixtures – with a handful of the new signings on target.

“We had a very good pre-season, it is nice to win friendly games and that generates confidence but, ultimately, they don’t count,” said Ismailov.

“It starts on Saturday, that is the big one.

“If we continue this form, we will do very well.

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WOMEN'S TEAM 03:27

HIGHLIGHTS: EVERTON WOMEN 2-0 HIBERNIAN

Everton wrapped up their training camp at Oriam in Scotland with a win over Hibernian in their final game of the pre-season campaign.


“It is very satisfying to see new players settling in well, scoring and assisting and running and blending in.

“It was a good summer in every way possible.”

On getting the Bennison deal over the line to complete a major coup for the Club, Ismailov added: “Hanna is the hottest prospect out there, she is the future and has everything in her hands to be the best player possible.

“It was a long process and at the end it was Hanna driving and helping us make this move possible

“It shows Everton Women are ambitious and that young talent and more experienced players want to be part of this amazing club.”


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