Casey Stoney

Stoney: Oslo game will be fantastic preparation

Manchester United Women’s head coach Casey Stoney is looking forward to the challenge of facing Valerenga Women this summer.

The Reds will meet the Norwegian side in a pre-season friendly at Intility Arena on 31 July, as part of the build-up to the club competing in the Women’s Super League for the first time.

Casey has set her stall out early ahead of the new campaign and wants to face some tough sides in preparation for what will undoubtedly be a step up in class from the 2018/19 season.

Interview: Stoney and Valerenga coach KnudsenVideo

Valerenga will offer one of the sternest possible tests for United, given that the Oslo club will be midway though their league campaign when the sides meet in two months' time.

“It’ll be pre-season for us, but we’ve got a few [players] going to the World Cup so we’ll have to manage them coming back into the environment and back into training,”
said Stoney, when sitting alongside Valerenga manager Monica Knudsen in an interview for MUTV.

“Obviously, Monica’s team will be starting the second period of their season and we won’t have played many games, so it will be a great test. I think it’s a fantastic game for us to prepare for the new season,”
she added.

Pre-season games often offer the first glimpses of new signings, and the game against Valerenga could allow United supporters the chance to see Jackie Groenen in a United shirt for the first time, subject to her transfer being completed in time.
The Dutch international has signed a pre-contract announcement to join the Reds and Casey hinted that other names could follow.

“I think, hopefully, we’ll be able to showcase some new players,”
said the United Women boss.

“They will be able to play some minutes and that’s what it’s about as well – getting minutes in the bank for those players, as well as it being an exhibition game for the fans.

“We’re preparing for the new season so, like I say, it should be a really good game. It will mean we get a good test against great opposition.”
Jackie Groenen kicks the ball.
Netherlands international Jackie Groenen has agreed to join United Women.
After such an encouraging season in 2018/19, Stoney is looking forward to our first top-flight campaign next year.

“We’ve got new challenges ahead and we don’t know yet who we’re going to face in our opening fixture [next season] – we could get tough opposition.

“The league is a lot harder, every single game is going to be difficult so to have a game like this in pre-season against top players and a top team, it will just give our new players a chance to bed in.

“It willl also be a bit of a barometer to see where we’re at and what we need to work on going into the season.”


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