Exclusive interview: Diane Caldwell

Monday 07 February 2022 17:00

Ireland international and lifelong Manchester United fan Diane Caldwell described the feeling of signing for the club as "one of the most special moments in my life so far."

We caught up with the experienced defender to ask her more about that, and to discuss what she hopes to achieve with the Reds this season. Here's the full transcript of our conversation...

Diane – firstly, welcome to Manchester United. As a United fan, how does that feel to sign for us?

"I don’t really know! I don’t really know how to put it into words how it feels. It’s just so surreal, this day is probably one of the most special in my life so far. As a lifelong diehard United fan it’s something you dream about, and it’s something you maybe think you won’t be able to achieve, but you just keep on the right path and hopefully one day it’ll happen. So I’m very grateful to be here and it’s a very special moment for myself and my family who are also big United fans."

You’ve said that you’ve sat in Old Trafford watching the games as a fan and there will be an opportunity to play at the stadium when we play Everton, so you must be so excited to get going…
"I am, everything’s been very quick today and I’m just ready to get out onto the pitch, get down to work, meet all the girls and all the staff. Everyone I’ve met so far have been absolutely genuinely lovely people, so I’m ready to just get down to business now and get going."
Caldwell: It's a dream come true Video

Caldwell: It's a dream come true

Diane Caldwell says it feels "surreal" to sign for a club she has supported all her life...

You join a team that’s in great form, that hasn’t lost a game in the WSL in the two months, so how does it feel to come into a side that’s really hitting its stride?
"Yeah, the team have done so well so far this season and I just hope with myself coming in that I can help in any way I can and try to increase the performance levels and continue on that successful run of form and hopefully get something out of it at the end of the season."

What can the fans expect from you as a player, what kind of player are you?
"I think they can watch me and just see a fan out on the pitch, a diehard fan with a lot of pride and passion for this club and, like I said, it’s something I’ve always dreamt of achieving and I’ll give my all. I’ll give everything for this club and I’ll wear that badge with so much pride."

Aside from being a United fan, what drew you to join this club?
"I think it’s just the way the team is going right now, it’s on an upwards trajectory and Marc’s doing a fantastic job. The style of play is really eye-catching and it’s something you want to be a part of as a professional footballer. To be a part of something successful and play in a certain style is also something really attractive."
You know Marc Skinner from your time in America and played against him. What do you hope playing under him will be like?
"I hope he just gets the best out of me. Like with every coach, I just want to learn from him and be a sponge right now, take in all the information that he has for me, so I can just continue to grow as a player and learn from him and give my best back to him, and be appreciative of this opportunity he’s given me, and pay him back for that opportunity."

You’ve got previous international experience as well – is that something you hope to continue in your time here at United?
"Yeah, absolutely – my national team means so much to me. I’m a very proud Irishwoman and I have big aspirations for my Irish national team. I hope one day that we get to a major tournament for the first time in our history, that’s also a big goal of mine so that’s definitely in my mind as well, to keep pursuing that and to keep going strong with Ireland and hopefully one day succeed."

What can the squad that we have here at United expect from you?
"I think they can expect a player with experience. I have played in a vast array of countries now, a lot of different cultures, a lot of different playing styles. Through my career I’ve been through a lot, I’ve experienced a lot, so with that you grow and you learn, and I think I can pass that on, particularly to the younger members in the team, and just help bring them along on their own journey as well and help them in that kind of way. Also, just try to be a good team-mate and a good person, and encourage and motivate everyone, make everyone better around me."

You’ve worn that badge on your chest as a fan and now you’re wearing it as a player so you must be just delighted…
"Yeah really, it’s a dream come true and that’s all I can really say, it’s a dream come true, it’s a surreal moment and I’m so, so proud to be here."

The fans at United are a passionate bunch who follow the team up and down the country. What would be your message to them?
"Just that I look forward to playing in front of them and I hope I can give them something to smile about and cheer about and shout about."