Finnigan's Personal Growth In Groundbreaking Year

The road to become Everton captain has been far from easy for Academy graduate, Megan Finnigan.

Currently the Club’s longest-serving women’s player, Finnigan was handed the armband ahead of this season and has flourished since taking on the added responsibility.

While the first half of 2023 was full of personal struggles away from football for the 25-year-old, it was through those experiences she grew.

“In football it's player first, person second at times,” Finnigan told evertonfc.com.

“When I look back at this time last year to where I am now, I'm literally a completely different person for the better.

“You can't control what life throws at you, but you can control how you react, how you try to deal with it.

“I can sit here now and say I'm really proud of myself and I think that's something we should also normalise, giving yourself credit. Giving yourself love.

“I’m proud of myself with how I’ve dealt with such challenges and I’m also very grateful to Everton for getting me through those periods.

“This place is like my home. For me to come in here every day during difficult moments off the pitch and getting to spend it with such an amazing group of girls, I consider myself very lucky.

“That pulls you through difficult moments and that’s the lovely thing about this team.

“It’s been a year of growth and I’m really proud of where I am now.

“You always learn something from difficult moments.”

Finnigan has played every minute of the Blues' Women’s Super League campaign to date, scoring three goals in the process.

In the past the defender had been rotated in and out of the team, and while that was difficult to handle in the moment, she is glad to have persevered.

“When you go through those periods of not playing, it's the hardest part of being a footballer,” Finnigan continued.

“When you having to sit on the bench and you have to watch from the side, it's not nice and it's something that I that I did always struggle to deal with personally.

“The one thing that always got me through is my work rate, my work ethic and I always believe that in time I'd get that place back.

“You look now two years later and I've played virtually every minute of every game this year so far about bar one.

“It's crazy and that's football. It's cyclical, it’s crazy how things can change and you should never take it for granted cause that could be taken away from you as well.

“To be where I am now, it's something that that I have to credit myself for because I think I've worked hard to get to this point and I'm loving every minute of it.

“It's why I've been at Everton for so long. I struggle to put into words, this is my home.

“Some people will come to Everton, they'll leave and it's just another club, another part of the journey but most people I think it really touches them.

“For me personally, I absolutely adore the club. I adore everything about it. Obviously there’s been a lot of noise around the Club at the minute in terms of the men's side in terms of that deduction and whatnot, but to see them thrive at the minute and the feeling that that has generated amongst the fans has been so nice to see and it makes me proud to be part of this football club.”

Brian Sorensen's side sit just one point off their tally at the same stage last year. The term began with two frustrating defeats against Brighton and Leicester City, but not for a lack of effort.

As Finnigan looked to galvanise the group ahead of two important away games to Aston Villa and West Ham – both of which returned wins for the Toffees – she reveals that she called upon Seamus Coleman to help further galvanise the group. 

“First of all, it was really beneficial for the girls to hear from Seamus,” she said.

“Sometimes it’s nice to hear from somebody who is away from the team, but somebody who has been through such difficult moments himself and with the team as well.

“He’s Everton through and through and I thought it would be really nice and beneficial to hear someone speak about Everton with just so much passion and love.

“For me, there were some really key takeaways from what he said that we can take forward.

“It was a really difficult period for us. It perhaps was never as bad as it felt, but we really wanted to win games and we didn’t, so the mood was low.

“I like to think that what I do well as a captain is I always try and do what’s best for the team.

“I always try and think what is going to help the team. I wouldn’t say we were clutching at straws at all getting Seamus in, but I thought it was really nice to have a difficult perspective and we’re so grateful for him to do it.

“It demonstrates the mentality within the Club. The ‘One Club’ mentality. I’m so appreciative that he came in to do that.”

Still in the early days as her new role of captain, Finnigan is eager to keep an open mind when it comes to leading the Blues and says she will continue to call on her teammates in order to achieve the best for the team.

“I’m never going to stand here and take the leadership of the team as a whole,” she said.

“There’s a lot of big personalities in the team who contribute, speak up and help you in those conversations.

“It’s definitely welcomed to get those external opinion.

“I would do anything for this Club. When I’m on the pitch, I would die for the Club.

“When we’re going through those difficult moments, it was literally like ‘what can I do? What can we do as a team to galvanise the girls?’.

“There wasn’t anything that drastically needed to change. It was just having a shift in mentality and looking at things in a different way.”