Kirsty Hanson during a Manchester United Women training session.

At home with Kirsty Hanson

Friday 17 April 2020 10:01

The latest chapter of our chats with the United Women squad takes us to West Yorkshire, where winger Kirsty Hanson finds herself in lockdown with her parents.

Up for discussion: overcoming her ankle injury, weekly cooking challenges from the club and looking ahead to her birthday – which is today! Happy 22nd, Kirsty...

Hi Kirsty. How are you, and where are you?
I’m good, thanks. I’m back with my mum and dad [in Halifax], in the house I grew up in.

You’ve told us in the past how much you’ve been inspired by your parents. It must be nice to spend some quality time together, despite the circumstances?
It is. It’s just the three of us here. I've got a brother but he's got his own house just up the road. I might pop home on a weekday from Manchester, but I haven’t spent any real time here since the summer. It’s been good. 

No pets to keep the three of you entertained?
No, unfortunately. I used to have some guinea pigs here, but they all died. I still get upset when mum and dad say I'm not allowed another pet! [Laughs]

It’s 10.30am. Tell us what your plans are for today…
It’s just a normal day, training wise. I got up a bit earlier today, which I do on a Tuesday and a Friday because we've got our team video call in a bit. I was up by 8am to begin my training programme, with a bit of power training at home. Then I went to the park – it's a nice open space and I always train in a specific spot so no one gets in the way. I did my running there, then I was back home to finish off my breakfast before these calls. It’s good to see everyone on the web call, to catch up and see how everyone is doing. It’s a really good idea to do it twice a week. I’ll finish off the rest of my programme later – which is upper body, lower body and core – then have some lunch, do some technical [training] in the garden. Obviously when I’m on my own it's hard to train with a football, but last summer my mum bought a big rebound net for me to kick a ball on to while I’m here, so that's come in handy, I’ve been using that a lot. After that, I might relax and watch a bit of TV!

We're sure you will have earned it by then! What sort of outdoor space do you have at your parents’ house?
Probably a similar space to what I have in Manchester. It’s not a massive garden but I can do my stuff; it's enough.

The hard work doesn't stop for Kirsty at home!
For a winger such as yourself, the park probably comes in handy for sprint training, though…
Definitely. I'm lucky that it’s such a big park and I always see the same regular dog walkers so they know to avoid me and walk around, which is nice of them! Everyone seems to say hello to each other right now. That's good to see.

How is your fitness, as you were just getting over an ankle injury when the WSL schedule was halted?
Yeah, that was disappointing after missing a few games. I played in a few training games to help me get back to match fitness after the international break but obviously things happened. I need to look at the positives, though, as it's enabled me to work on my rehab even more and make my ankle even stronger.

Fellow winger Leah Galton told us how you’d been helping each other get fit prior to the suspension of games...
That’s right. We work together a lot anyway but when we both got injured around the same time, we encouraged each other and pushed each other. We’d often have a laugh and a joke too, which was really helpful if either of us was having a bad day. 

Both of you looked pretty sharp with your skills in the squad’s recent ‘toilet roll challenge’, that’s for sure! Be honest, how long did it take you to flick that loo roll on to the brick wall?!
[Laughs] It took a few times! I asked my dad to throw it to me and he was getting stressed out because he wanted to make tea and I was like: ‘It'll only take a few times!’ So he wasn’t too happy with me but we got there!
The fans certainly enjoyed it, judging by the comments. Away from keepie-uppies with loo rolls, have you taken on any other challenges while in lockdown?
I’ve been given some cooking challenges from the club, and I’ve enjoyed doing them. It’s normally a dish from a certain country, once a week. It’s been good to improve my cooking skills, and give my mum and dad a break from doing all the meals.

What was your last country and dish then?
It was a Greek dish, so I did a Moussaka. I’ve never cooked one before, but I thought it was really nice. 

You’ll have to send us a picture. Any other hobbies to help pass the time?
Not really. I’ve not had the time! I’ll get up, do my stuff, and the next thing you know it’s 3pm... then the next thing you know it’s bedtime! I sometimes play on my Nintendo Switch a bit, and I like catching up on TV, as there’s loads of good stuff to watch.

What are you watching right now?
I love dramas, and I’ve been watching a lot of them recently – The Liar [ITV] and The Nest [BBC], which are good, and Our Girl [BBC]. That’s the one I’d recommend the most, I love Our Girl. I’ve also got into watching Hawaii Five-o.

Cracking theme tune!
Yes, that’s my favourite bit!
Kirsty's Moussaka – looks delicious!
What about the news? It’s so easy to get drawn into watching that all day long right now…
Mum and Dad always seem to have the news on, but I try and switch off from it when I can. I’ll go out the room and put some music on. I have my music connected to the Alexa so I’m in charge of the music here!   

Any other means of entertainment in the Hanson household?
Not really. We got a board game out the other day but didn't open it in the end. It’s my birthday coming up on Friday so we’ll probably play some games then… something a bit different.

Yes, all the best for Friday – your 22nd birthday will no doubt be rather different than your 21st! Finally, what would you like to say to the United fans?
Do stay active and use your daily activity – even if it’s a wander down the street or out in the garden, it’s so good for you mentally to get out if you can. Stay positive and while there’s no football, we hope you enjoy what we’re putting on social media, and hopefully we'll see you all soon at Leigh Sports Village.