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In profile: Manchester United Women

In profile: Manchester United Women
© Reuters
United have won 15 and lost only one of their 17 games in the second-tier Championship this season.

Manchester United Women will play at the top level of the English game next season.

United won promotion to the Women’s Super League by securing at least a top-two spot in the Championship with a 5-0 win over Aston Villa on Wednesday.

Here, Press Association Sport considers how United will fare in the WSL next season.

How well has this United team done?

Manchester United v Paris Saint-Germain – UEFA Champions League – Round of 16 – First Leg – Old Trafford
United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward announced plans to form a women’s team in March 2018 (Martin Rickett/PA)

Remarkably so. United have won 15 and lost only one of their 17 league games, scoring 81 goals and conceding just seven in the process. Ed Woodward, United executive vice-chairman, only announced plans to form a women’s professional team in March 2018 having long been criticised by prominent figures in the game for failing to do so. They were the only Premier League men’s club not to have a senior women’s team before formation. United joined the second-tier Championship in time for the 2018-19 season and have played their home games at Leigh Sports Village.

Who is the manager?

Casey Stoney File Photo
Casey Stoney was assistant manager of the England women’s side before being appointed head coach at Manchester United Women (Dave Howarth/PA)

Casey Stoney, the former England captain and assistant manager, was named head coach of the newly-formed United team in June. Stoney instantly set her sights high by declaring she wanted to become the “Sir Alex Ferguson of the women’s game” in what she labelled a three-to-five-year project. Stoney was capped 130 times by England and brings vast knowledge of women’s football. The 36-year-old is regarded as a perfectionist, with a deep understanding of psychology as well as formations and tactics.

Will the squad need strengthening?

Manchester United v West Ham United Women – FA Continental Tyres Cup – Group Two North – Leigh Sports Village
England international Alex Greenwood has been a key player in Manchester United’s promotion success (Nick Potts/PA)

United’s march has been a relentless procession, but far tougher tasks lie ahead in the WSL. Goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain and full-back skipper Alex Greenwood have almost 100 England caps between them, but there are only three players in the squad over 25. Regular scorers Jess Sigworth, Ella Toone and Mollie Green offer huge promise and teenager Lauren James, sister of Wigan’s Reece James, has been tipped as a future England international. Expect United to add experience in key areas this summer

What does the future hold?

With a budget bigger than most Super League clubs, United are certainly expected to compete at the top end of the English game. Crowds peaked at nearly 5,000 earlier in the season, and Stoney has suggested that a game could be played at Old Trafford next season to raise the profile of her team further. The ambition is to compete with WSL champions Chelsea Women and local rivals Manchester City for the top honours, and there is every chance that will happen in the long run.

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38322495237298
2Liverpool38307189226797
3Chelsea38219863392472
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs382321367392871
5Arsenal382171073512270
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd381991065541166
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38169134746157
8Everton38159145446854
9Leicester CityLeicester38157165148352
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham38157165255-352
11Watford38148165259-750
12Crystal Palace38147175153-249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174248-645
14Bournemouth38136195670-1445
15Burnley38117204568-2340
16Southampton38912174565-2039
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3899203560-2536
RCardiff CityCardiff38104243469-3534
RFulham3875263481-4726
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3837282276-5416

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