Amy Turner: Casey drilled those values into us

Vice-captain Amy Turner says the cultural foundations behind Manchester United Women will remain in place, no matter how much the club continues to grow.

The Sheffield-born centre-back was among the Reds’ inaugural intake when the team was launched in the summer of 2018 and has since featured 43 times in all competitions for the club, scoring three goals.

Turner, who played alongside head coach Casey Stoney at previous club Liverpool, noted that although the squad was composed of players from a variety of different backgrounds, Stoney instilled a distinctive club culture from the get-go, which has grown as the Reds have worked to establish ourselves in the Women’s Super League.

“It was surreal. You had such a mix of people coming together,” said Turner, speaking in the latest episode of UTD Podcast. “Youngsters with amazing potential, players like me who just needed a chance. It was crazy.

UTD Podcast: How Casey convinced me to joinVideo

“There was a lot of varying experience across the team but I think Casey recruited a team that she felt would get on off the pitch as well.

“Even from the start Casey drilled into us the values and culture she wanted to create off the pitch and we all bought into it. It was crazy to think that we went into training and it was unlike anything I had been a part of before.

“There was a real excitement around the place and a lot of that has stayed and grown and we have developed a lot as a team since that first year, but the foundations will always remain the same for the team.”

Turner, who has played four times for England, is one of the first names on the Reds’ teamsheet, making 16 starts and missing just two games in the curtailed 2019/20 campaign.

However, as Amy tells us in the podcast, her career hasn’t always been plain sailing.

The 29-year-old’s time on Merseyside was hampered by injury, while she was released by first club Doncaster Rovers Belles in 2011, having been told she wasn’t good enough to cut it in the top flight.

Happily, Amy bounced back, turning out for Leeds United and Sheffield FC before winning promotion to the WSL with Lincoln Ladies (now Notts County), and she admits her experiences with the Belles help to drive her on.

“If someone said that to me now – hopefully Casey doesn’t say that to me now - I feel like I am in a position now to be like: ‘You know what, I’m going to prove you wrong’. Now I believe I am good enough.

“That would give me that extra motivation but then I just believed it I suppose. I thought: ‘Right well, he’s the manager, he knows what he is talking about. I must not be good enough. Maybe I just have to accept it.’

“It was a silly thing to think but I don’t think I had the confidence and I suppose the mental toughness to be able to [get through it].

“I suppose it happens. It probably happens a lot more in the men’s game with the amount of players wanting to make it. They get told a lot more often that it’s not going to happen. It wasn’t a nice thing to hear but it’s still a part of my motivation.”

Having experienced rejection, Amy is in the perfect place to advise young players about the pitfalls of professional football and there’s one quality she particularly places above all others: “That self-belief is really important.

“I think if you do make it as a pro it isn’t always going to be easy. There are going to be setbacks and things that happen throughout your career that you are going to find tough and I supposed that is quite a harsh reality of it. Everything is so worth it in the end.

“You get to play a sport that you love. You get paid for it. You get to make people happy. You win a game and all these people are just so happy with you.

“For all the negative things and for all the setbacks and hardships there are so many positives. You will experience things you would never experience in any other way of life.”

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