Skinner: International breaks are great for growth
Manchester United Women's head coach Marc Skinner believes that international breaks provide valuable experience for both those who have been chosen to represent their country and those who remain with the club and train.
A total of 16 Reds were called up to represent their nations over the recent break, while the rest of the squad stayed at Carrington to keep on working with the United staff, as preparations continued for the concluding months of the campaign.
Next up for Skinner's side is a derby with Manchester City in the fifth round of the Women's FA Cup on Sunday, and speaking ahead of that match in his exclusive pre-match interview, the boss provided an insight into how training has been during the recent club-football hiatus.
“I actually quite like these moments because you get to spend some quality individual time with players,” he said. “Sometimes it is a little bit of a blessing to have an international week where you can really focus on certain players and their growth.”
“It’s been great, and the players' energy has been great [too]”.
Reds defender Hannah Blundell, who spent the week training with Skinner and his coaching staff, shared her manager’s sentiments.
She said: “We have [enjoyed the week].
“It’s been good to get some one-to-ones with the coaches and so it’s been good training-wise.”
Skinner also emphasised the positive impact international breaks can have on those chosen to represent their country.
He said: “When you talk to [the players] they are so proud to [play for their countries].
“For us it is magnificent because any challenges they face - travelling abroad, facing different opponents, different styles of play - are exactly what will challenge them when they come back into the club.
“[The international break] is a great example of their growth and it is a great experience for them, so we really do enjoy that.”
Blundell trained as part of a smaller group under Skinner this week and revealed that despite the setback on our last outing just under a fortnight ago, a 1-0 defeat away in the Women’s Super League to Sunday’s opponents City, United remain confident ahead of this weekend's FA Cup meeting with the Blues.
“Of course, we are hurt from the game,” she said. “But you’ve got to pick yourself up and move on again.
“Spirits are quite high, as they always are, and we are just looking forward to the game at the weekend now.”
She added: “Going into that game everyone wants to right the wrongs and make sure we come away with a positive result this time.”