Good evening and welcome to Walton Hall Park for our first home game of the campaign.
The team are still buzzing from Sunday’s result. To go to Anfield and play the way we did is testament to the hard work the girls and our staff have put in over the summer and I was delighted we were able to get our reward for that.
We were bitterly disappointed after West Ham to not start the season how we wanted, and we knew how important the game against Liverpool was in terms of showcasing how good a team we can be against a strong opponent.
However, we didn’t achieve this alone. Our fans in the away end. Wow.
You were simply incredible. To see so many Evertonians at the game and the celebrations with you at the end is something I’ll truly never forget.
Now, it’s important we use our performance in the derby as a foundation to build on and that continues with Leicester City tonight.
I’ve been very impressed with how they have defended in their pre-season matches and we are aware of what threats they pose.
They’ve had two narrow defeats so far in the league and we know how hungry they’ll be to get off the mark, and we need to be ready to nullify their threats.
We have ideas we want to implement – a philosophy, a shape and a structure. I hope our fans saw that over the weekend and what we can bring to the league this season.
Our manager Brian Sorensen has recruited some excellent players, who have already made an impact both on and off the pitch.
At football clubs, you’re always going to have that turnover of players but having that core group who know the Club inside and out is also so important.
Our responsibility is to drip feed information on the concepts and values of this club to the new players and, to their credit, all of them have taken that on board.
They’ve all got a great winning mentality and have worked tirelessly to apply the manager’s messages.
The sense of a cultural shift has been felt among a lot of the players who have been at Everton for a few years.
We’re a club with a pedigree of developing young talent – and a brilliant example of that is the number of former Everton players involved in England’s European Championship success.
That may have slipped under the radar but, with Brian coming in, he has reignited that fire of bringing young players through and giving them a platform to show what they can do.
To balance that, we have a lot of experienced leaders in the side. We have people like Leonie Maier in the squad, who is one of the most professional players I’ve worked with. She’s a real example to the younger players, always ensuring she is in the best possible shape to compete.
When you put all of that together, I feel we have a very exciting squad for the season.
During the summer, we have established a captains’ group which contains myself, Gabby George, Nathalie Bjorn, Nicoline Sorensen and Lucy Graham.
That balance of leadership is really important, with different voices from around the group. I will rely on their support throughout the season, as well as the incredible players we have in our squad.
Being a leader means pushing the standards of the team during the week. It can be by making your voice heard or, sometimes, it’s being silent and being an example to others.
In our group, we have a very good balance in terms of those characteristics and we’re going to need everyone to buy into that if we are to be a successful team this season.
With it being our first home game, we’re also expecting a packed-out crowd which is absolutely incredible.
We want to continue making Walton Hall Park a tough ground for opponents to come and a place where we can create special memories.
In order to do that, we need our fans. We want to take you with us on that journey.
Special moments are only the ones with you alongside us.
Let’s go and create some more.
Enjoy the game,