Duggan: Twitter storm around rumoured Man Utd move was new for women's game

Toni Duggan England 2019
The Three Lionesses player says she was not considering a move to the Red Devils and thought the speculation was bizarre

England Women’s international Toni Duggan said she was never close to signing for Manchester United after leaving Barcelona last summer and that the rumours on Twitter were new for women’s football.

Duggan eventually moved to Atletico Madrid where she is hoping to undo the heartbreak of last season’s Champions League final in which Barca were brushed aside 4-1 by Lyon.

She said that she moved to Atletico for a chance to play in that competition, having received other offers from clubs not participating this year. Man Utd are not playing in the Champions League, but Duggan said they didn’t make an offer anyway.

“The girls want to make history, reach the next round for the first time. I can’t wait,” Duggan told The Guardian of her new team-mates in the Spanish capital.

“A big reason for signing for Atletico was the Champions League. There were other offers, good offers, but they weren’t in it.

“That [the United rumours] literally just stemmed from Twitter. [United players and England colleagues] Abbie McManus and Mary Earps, good friends, signed and it just grows and grows, but I was never close to signing."

“It was,” she added when asked if the attention was unusual. “People assumed because they’d seen it on Twitter. I’ve never really been in that position before: I don’t think women’s football itself has.

“Honestly it’s like: God bless the men’s players because they get it every week.”

Duggan, who played a role in England’s run to the World Cup semi-final last summer, says she left Barcelona because she didn’t feel she fit their style.

She’s happy at Atletico and looking forward to taking on another of her former clubs Manchester City in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 encounter on October 30. The tie is currently poised 1-1 after a stalemate in England.

“It’s about being happy,” she said of the end of her time at Barca.

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“I was happy but the football was a little bit frustrating. They have an identity, a philosophy, which I enjoy but I felt it didn’t get the best out of me as a No 9.

“I haven’t yet scored as many as I did there to start with, but I’m more involved in the game, more comfortable, more happy with my performances.

“It’s City but it’s tough whoever you face. We lost in Kazakhstan last year. That’s the Champions League, it’s amazing. That’s why I came. I absolutely love the competition. I want to be a part of it and I want to be part of it to the end.”