The Women’s Super League is living one of its best moments. The English league is betting on women’s football and the global stars are not hesitating to leave for British soil. The people have turned out in force and it is now common to see how the teams fill the big stadiums.
Hosting the 2022 Euros, in which England won it all, has been critical to the growth of the organization. The British and the clubs themselves discovered a new world in which they could invest. The result of such investment has shown on the pitch, as multiple Spanish players have decided to take that route to continue their career in football.
Laia Aleixandri and Leila Uahabi:
‘Spanish Manchester City’ has been signing more and more Spanish-speaking players. The ‘Citizens’ have had a great start to the season and are currently third on the table. Lauren Hemp or Jill Roord are some of their better known stars this season, but two Spaniards who play on their defensive line are earning the affection of all their fans: Laia Aleixandri and Leila Ouahabi, both of whom arrived in Manchester last summer.
Laia Aleixandri, a 23-year-old centre-back, arrived on a transfer from Atlético de Madrid. The Catalan became a bona fide starter from the get-go in Gareth Taylor’s system, and this season she is following the same path. She has played eight matches in which she has scored one goal and dished out three assits. In addition, her versatility makes her a good option to play as a defensive midfielder or full-back, thus providing the team with another alternative.
Laia Aleixandri is crucial for her team and the Spanish national team. She could not play in the World Cup, as she was part of ‘Las 15’ and Jorge Vilda chose to not call her up for the championship. She is among the best defenders in the English league and has become a lock in Montse Tomé‘s list. There are few players with as well-rounded of a profile as hers: youth, experience, forcefulness and great association qualities and vision.
Leila Ouahabi, a 30-year-old left-back, was also signed last summer from FC Barcelona. The Catalan has followed an ascending curve in her stint at the ‘Citizens’. This season, she has played four games in which she contributed one assist.
She has not had the start she hoped for in her second season, as she was not the starter at her position. Over the last few matches, she has proven that she can be important, and nobody can take her spot from her. Her speed and offensive firepower is critical to Machester City’s results.
The eternal captain. There are players who deserve to wear the armband as a result of what they convey and prove with their attitude. Vicky Losada is that kind of player. After leaving FC Barcelona in 2021 to get more playing time, the midfielder has played for many teams. For a season and a half, she played for Manchester City, where she arrived as one of the main pieces of the project but ended up leaving due to a lack of minutes. She left for AS Roma half way through the season, where she played six matches but did not seem to be comfortable.
After two seasons looking for her place to be, Vicky Losada might have found it in British ground. The former FC Barcelona captain chose Brighton as her next destination. And her decision seems to have paid off. From the moment she arrived, she was given the captain’s armband and, since then, she has proven to deserve it. Melissa Phillips, her manager, has shown supreme confidence in her from the start, as she has played almost every possible minute.
The racked up bad results to start the season, but has managed to score points and climb positions in the standings little by little. For now, they are the ninth ranked team in the English league. Vicky Losada has already scored her first goal for them in the team’s win against West Ham.
Lucía García joined Manchester United from Athletic Club last summer. Her adaptation was good and, up unitl this summer, she had another Spaniard alongside her in Ona Batlle, who left for FC Barcelona. Last season she scored eight goals in 24 matches. Her role might have been to revolutionize the game off the bench, but in every opportunity she had, she responded with good football.
This season she has had a similar role, although she has started in more matches. In eight appearances, she has scored two goals and one assist. Manchester United have lost multiple stars, but still prove to be one of the most fearsome teams in the league, as they currently rank fourth in the standings.
Montse Tomé wants a profile like hers in the Spanish national team and usually calls her up. Lucía is a rapid strikers who can read the space very well and also has great goal-scoring instincts. She likes to speak on the pitch and gives the game her all every time she has the chance.
Laia Codina joined Arsenal this summer from FC Barcelona. Her performances at the World Cup sparked interest in her signing among many clubs, as she was looking for a team in which she could be important. With Mapi León and Irene Paredes at FC Barcelona, it was tough to get a lot of playing time. Codina is a very young player that needs a place in which she can acquire minutes and experience.
Her start to the season was complicated as she got injured multiple times. But after her recovery, Laia Codina has surprised the ‘Gunners’ as a result of her fast and seamless adaptation that has led her to become a lock in the starting lineup. She stands out because of her leadership at 23 years old, her forcefulness and great ball-playing abilities. Players of this kind make their team’s build up play from the back a lot better. It is not by chance that the Londoner side is currently sitting in the second position of the English league, as they have invested a lot in the planning for this year.
Translated by Nuño Alonso.
Images from: @ArsenalWFC, @BHAFCWomen, @ManUtdWomen & @ManCityWomen.