England internationals Siobhan Chamberlain and Alex Greenwood are among the squad of 21 players Manchester United have unveiled ahead of their inaugural season in the FA Women’s Championship.
Jess Sigsworth, last season’s top scorer in the second tier with Doncaster Rovers Belles, is another of the stand-out names enlisted by United manager Casey Stoney for the 2018-19 campaign.
Former England international Stoney and her assistant Willie Kirk were recently announced as the first coaching team to take charge of United’s women’s team since their acceptance into the FA’s new structure, and they have swiftly recruited a squad of players they hope will challenge for promotion to the Women’s Super League.
“We've gone young, we've gone exciting, we've gone entertaining,” Stoney, the 130-cap England star, told Man Utd's website.
“I’m more than aware that we’re bringing 21 strangers together but I’m really excited about the squad and the future of this team.”
Goalkeeper Chamberlain was part of the England squad which reached the 2015 World Cup semi-finals, replacing injured first-choice keeper Karen Bardsley during the quarter-final win over hosts Canada. Left-back Greenwood, meanwhile, played in the group game against Colombia and the third-place match with Germany.
Like Chamberlain, Greenwood arrives at United from WSL side Liverpool, and the 24-year-old has also been bestowed the honour of being the team’s first ever club captain.
“I’m ready for this challenge,” Greenwood told United’s Twitter account. “I’m so proud to be captain of this team, and what a talented team I can say I captain.”
The squad also boasts seven players who had previously played for United’s Girls Regional Talent Club at youth level, with Emily Ramsey, Naomi Hartley and Katie Zelem among those to have already worn United colours.
Goalkeeper Fran Bentley and attacker Ella Toone both arrive from neighbours Manchester City, while Lauren James and Charlie Devlin are both formerly of 14-time FA Women’s Cup winners Arsenal.
United will begin their debut season in the second flight of English football on the weekend of September 8. They will be part of an 11-team league with Aston Villa, Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace, Durham, Leicester City, Lewes, London Bees, Millwall Lionesses, Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur.
Goalkeepers: Siobhan Chamberlain, Emily Ramsey, Fran Bentley,
Defenders: Martha Harris, Alex Greenwood (captain), Amy Turner, Naomi Hartley, Lucy Roberts, Kirsty Smith,
Midfielders: Aimee Palmer, Mollie Green, Katie Zelem, Charlie Devlin, Lauren James, Lizzie Arnot, Millie Turner,
Forwards: Ella Toone, Jess Sigsworth, Leah Galton, Kirsty Hanson, Ebony Salmon.