How our Reds fared over the February international break

Friday 25 February 2022 10:00

A quartet of Manchester United Women’s stars had their first taste of senior international silverware over the course of the February break.

Alessia Russo, Ella Toone, Katie Zelem and Mary Earps were all part of the England squad that celebrated success in the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup on Wednesday evening. 

After draws in their opening two matches against Canada (1-1) and Spain (0-0), the Lionesses needed to win their final round-robin match against Germany by two clear goals to finish top of the standings. 

With the game at 1-1 in the 82nd minute, both Russo and Toone were introduced from the bench and helped Sarina Weigman’s side score the goals they needed, in the 84th and 94th minutes respectively, to be crowned champions.
Ona Batlle’s Spain finished runners-up on goal difference and unluckily missed out on lifting the trophy, as a result of the late goals from Chelsea’s Millie Bright and Fran Kirby.

The full-back started her country’s opening two matches, a 1-1 draw with Germany and the stalemate with England, before watching on from the bench as the Spanish team overcame Olympic champions Canada 1-0 on the third and final matchday. 
Elsewhere across Europe in the February break, three Reds also had the honour of captaining their countries for the first time at senior level. 

Jackie Groenen wore the armband for the Netherlands last Saturday as the Leeuwinnen overcame Finland 3-0 in their second round-robin fixture at the Tournoi de France. 

Our no.14 featured in all three of her nation’s matches at the four-team tournament that France went on to retain following a 3-1 victory in a winner-takes-all showdown with the Netherlands on the final matchday. 
On the same day that Groenen led out her country, Diane Caldwell also did the same for the Republic of Ireland in the Pinatar Cup. 

Having got past Poland in the quarter-final, our January signing captained the team in the semi-final against Russia three days later in which they were narrowly beaten. 

The Republic of Ireland did go on to close out the break on a high however, edging out a Wales side in the third-place playoff that had been represented earlier in the tournament by our own Carrie Jones, Hayley Ladd and Academy Red Chloe Williams. 

Williams proudly made her senior debut for her country in the Dragons’ semi-final defeat on penalties to Belgium. 

Wales had overcome Scotland in the quarter-final, a side with heavy United involvement of course via Kirsty Hanson, Kirsty Smith and Martha Thomas. The latter netted in a 2-0 win that followed for Pedro Martinez Losa’s team versus Slovakia, before they clinched fifth place with a triumph over Hungary on penalties. 
The third and most recent Red to be named as captain for her country over the break was Maria Thorisdottir for Norway. 

The United defender led her international side, also represented by Vilde Boe Risa in the competition, to a third-place finish in the Algarve Cup with a 2-0 victory over Portugal in the match that would decide that spot. 

It was revenge for Thorisdottir and Boe Risa who had earlier lost to Portugal, and Italy, in the competition. 

The same tournament was unfortunately not as much of a fulfilling experience for Signe Bruun’s Denmark.

After going down to Italy in their opening match, a Covid outbreak within the Danish camp meant that Signe’s nation had to withdraw from the competition, forfeiting their final scheduled game against Sweden in the process. 

Preview: United Women v Manchester City


It’s FA Cup weekend, with the Reds keen to advance to the quarter-finals at the expense of our nearest rivals.

With the international break now in the rear-view mirror, Marc Skinner’s Reds have begun to reunite at Carrington ahead of Sunday’s Women’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Manchester City. 

Tickets for the game at Leigh Sports Village are on sale now, so come along and cheer on United in the derby by securing yours here.