Ladd: I'm really happy to commit to United
Hayley discusses her development, working under Casey, the 2020/21 WSL, representing her country and much more..
Hayley, congratulations, how does it feel? “It feels great, I’m really happy to commit more time to the club and happy to continue with the team.” Can you believe how much this side has progressed already in such a short space of time? “Exactly, we’ve progressed a lot, but it is surprising how quickly it’s happened and it’s so pleasing to be part of it.” How much are you enjoying being such an important player in this team? “To be honest I am just thrilled to be part of this team and I think the whole squad and the culture we have here, it’s just amazing to be a part of and I’m happy I can get on the pitch and hopefully make a difference for them.” How much do you think you have progressed since coming here? “I think a big part of this team is how hard we work every day and that staff really drill that in to us. I think physically, technically, in every avenue really, I’ve improved a lot and I’m thankful to the coaches for their input.” How good has it been working with Casey Stoney? “It’s been amazing, she’s a great coach and a great manager and I have learnt so much from her already. I think it’s exciting where she can take this team and there are no limits.” Do you use your experience to help younger players coming through the Academy? “I hope so, I’m getting to that age where hopefully I can exert a bit of experience on the young players and be a part of that leadership and the experience beneath the team. That is definitely something I look to add to my game as well.” How does it feel to be playing with some of the best players in women’s football? “It has definitely been one of the highlights of my time here, Tobin [Heath] and Christen [Press] have been fantastic both on and off the pitch, their such a joy to be around and I’ve really enjoyed their experience and what they add to the team. They obviously have a great insight from playing at the top level and they have been great additions to the team.” How do you cope with the competition in the squad? “There’s a clear distinction that it is really healthy competition and I believe that is something Casey has specifically made sure is part of the culture here and I think it’s really paid off. You can see that in our performances, we are working hard individually but collectively we are really pushing each other on and trying to achieve that overall team success.” What have been the highlights so far? “I think just doing well, we are on a nice level at the moment where we are just taking each game as it comes, and it is so exciting seeing what challenges we can overcome each week. Obviously, we drop points some weeks, but our ambition is that we need to make up those points and correct it. Being part of that culture and that kind of team is a big highlight. Playing with the likes of Christen and Tobin and players of that calibre is a big highlight, playing with phenomenal players and sharing a dressing room with them.” Has playing for United helped you play on the international stage? “Yes definitely, something that is so pleasing for me is that I am becoming a better player not only for United, but for my country as well. We are at a stage with Wales where we can push on and reach levels that we have never hit before. If I can add more for Wales and what we do there, then it’s a huge bonus.” How much are you enjoying playing in a very unpredictable WSL this season? “That is why it is such a big highlight for me this season because it is so tough and every game, whoever is playing, whatever is written down on paper, you don’t know the score and you don’t know how it is going to turn out. I think that adds a big challenge for us as players and as a team and it keeps the league very exciting. Hopefully when we can get fans back into the stadiums it will be record-breaking numbers because it is so exciting. I know I am watching more games than I ever have, and I think it’s the same for a lot of other people.” Do you look at the progression of the women’s game, and especially this United team, to be in and around, competing for those top three spots? “Yes, I think we have shown that in glimpses and we show that our job is never done. Once you do start to feel there is no work to be done, that’s when you slip up. That mentality is really important for us and it is something that we will maintain and hopefully we will get more and more success."