United Women 2022/23: The goalkeepers and defenders
While this summer has seen several new additions come into the Manchester United Women squad, head coach Marc Skinner has made two defensive reinforcements to his side, with Maya Le Tissier and Aissatou Tounkara joining the club.
The pair are set to bolster a United defence that conceded only 22 times in the Women’s Super League last term, laying strong foundations for our fourth-place finish.
Going into the new campaign, our ranks could be further bolstered too by the scintillating summer form of Mary Earps, who lifted the Euro 2022 trophy with England in July, and the return of centre-back Millie Turner, who had been out with a long-term injury.
As we count down to our 2022/23 season opener against Reading on Saturday, we thought we would take a look at all of the senior options now available to Skinner for this term, starting with the goalkeepers and defenders...
Mary Earps, along with fellow Reds Ella Toone and Alessia Russo, added to an impressive 2021/22 campaign by lighting up this summer’s Euro 2022 with England and returned to Manchester with a winners’ medal and plenty of confidence. She will be looking to carry her Team-of-the Tournament-worthy form into this season.
Sophie Baggaley enters her second season at the Reds having gained much experience last term, particularly in the Continental Cup. The 25-year-old will be looking to rack up further appearances for United in 2022/23 and provides a talented, developing option in goal for Marc Skinner.
Our Spanish full-back represented her nation at Euro 2022, being narrowly eliminated in the quarter-finals by England. Batlle provides a great attacking threat from defence as well as a tenacious determination in defence and proved to be a near ever-present in the WSL last term, playing 21 of our 22 league matches.
MAYA LE TISSIER
A new arrival from Brighton in the summer, Maya Le Tissier is the WSL’s all-time record holder for appearances made as a teenager. Le Tissier was nominated for the PFA’s Young Player of the Year award last year, and joins United with much talent and still with her best years ahead.
Enjoy these brilliant images of United Women's new signing undergoing her first media duties as a Red!
An experienced full-back, Hannah Blundell joined United last summer with four WSL titles to her name, and quickly went about making her mark at Leigh Sports Village. Blundell was a first-team regular for Skinner last term, and will no doubt be trusted once more in 2022/23 as the Reds look to break into that top three.
The return of Millie Turner to fitness is a welcome one for the Reds for this coming season, with the defender having missed the majority of last year due to a long-term injury. Turner has been a Red since the first year of the team’s existence and has played a key role in our rise from the Championship to battling for the Champions League places. Her experience and defensive stability will certainly be leant on by Skinner in 2022/23.
Our Norwegian defender is known for her strength and power, and was brought in to bolster United’s defence in January 2021. Thorisdottir competed in the 2022 Euros for her nation alongside fellow Red Vilde Boe Risa, and scored her first goal for United last September. She will no doubt be looking to use her extensive WSL experience, as a two-time winner, to help the Reds achieve success in the division this term.
The French international is the squad's most recent addition following her arrival in August. Tounkara, a centre-back, had spent the last four seasons with Atletico Madrid and joins United with a notable experience of lifting the Spanish title in 2018/19. The 27-year-old is also well-versed in triumphs on the international stage, previously contributing to silverware successes at U17 and U19 level for France. She now has 37 senior caps for her country and will no doubt be looking to bring her competitive knowhow to Manchester early in her United career.
Aoife Mannion’s knowhow at the back makes her a great asset for Skinner and the Reds, but the defender is unfortunately currently out injured. The centre-back suffered an ACL injury last season and has been positively working her way back to fitness. Mannion has posted a series of videos of her rehabilitation recently, which she continued during United’s pre-season trip to France.
Slow mo 180 turn 🤞 Progressed onto intense turns 🙌 Over the past few weeks: started with simple deceleration to a stop, then a diagonal 45 degree turn with acceleration (did this on the France tour), then 90 degree, this week 120 degree. This video is of fitness shuttles pic.twitter.com/vSpspFMoud— Aoife Mannion (@aoifemannion_) August 31, 2022
UNITED WOMEN TICKETS
The Reds' WSL campaign kicks off this weekend with our home opener against Reading at Leigh Sports Village - a limited number of tickets remain so be sure to secure your seat here.
You can also see the team play at Old Trafford, with tickets available now from just £3 for our league clash with Aston Villa at the Theatre of Dreams, in December. Click here to get yours.