Manchester United Women pose for a photo at the first pre-season training session.

Manchester United Women return for pre-season

The majority of the Manchester United Women's squad have returned to the club to begin pre-season training ahead of the 2019/20 season.

Casey Stoney’s side achieved huge success last season – the first since the team’s inception – winning the Women’s Championship by nine points and obtaining promotion to the top-flight Women’s Super League (WSL).
 
On Monday 15 July, many of the girls arrived at Leigh Sports Village, where home fixtures are played, to start preparations for our maiden campaign in the WSL.
 
The hard work begins now, with the rise to the English game’s top division bringing United into weekly competition with leading lights of the women’s game such as Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea.
Katie Zelem and Jesse Sigsworth walk to training session at Leigh Sports Village.
Player of the Year Katie Zelem and striker Jess Sigsworth were among those at Leigh Sports Village.
Player-of-the-Year Katie Zelem and top goalscorer Jess Sigsworth were among the players spotted in the first session of the season, but several members of the group are not due back until later in the summer because of their involvement in the World Cup.
 
Scotland internationals Lizzie Arnot, Kirsty Smith and striker Jane Ross – who recently signed from West Ham –  will return later this week, after exiting the tournament in France at the end of the group stage.
 
Club captain Alex Greenwood and two of her England team-mates – new acquisitions Abbie McManus and Mary Earps – are scheduled to begin their pre-seasons next week, having been part of the Lionesses squad that reached the semi-finals.
 
Stoney has also secured the services of Netherlands midfielder Jackie Groenen, who played the entirety of the Oranje's 2-0 defeat to the United States in the competition’s final. Groenen has also been granted an extra week’s holiday, due to her workload in France.
While four of our summer captures were involved in the World Cup, Welsh midfielder Hayley Ladd – who played for Birmingham City last term – was one of the players reporting for duty on day one of pre-season. 
 
Other absentees included Lauren James, Aimee Palmer and Emily Ramsey, who are currently away on international duty with England at the Women’s Under-19 European Championship in Scotland.
 
The team start our league season on Saturday 7 September at the Etihad Stadium, where they will face cross-town rivals and FA Cup winners Manchester City (kick-off 15:00 BST).
 

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