Casey Stoney Interview on Women’s Soccer United
Casey Stoney: “I want to try to take Manchester United into Champions League football, that is very much a long term aim.”
Full of passion and determination for the growth and development of the game and playing a key role at all levels, Casey Stoney is the ideal candidate to lead the women’s section of arguably the biggest club in the world into their inaugural league campaign!
During her 18 year playing career, representing top clubs and her country, Casey Stoney has also been coaching for 17 years! Gaining tremendous knowledge and experience under the influence of great guidance along the way. Most recently, Casey Stoney was a member of Phil Neville’s backroom staff for the England Lionesses.
We were very excited to get the opportunity to speak with England legend Casey Stoney for an exclusive interview on Women’s Soccer United to discuss her recent appointment at Manchester United Women, ambitions for herself and the club as well as her thoughts on the game in general.
Women’s Soccer United: Firstly, congratulations on your appointment as Manchester United Women Head Coach. How did the opportunity to manage at one of the biggest club’s in the world present itself to you?
Casey Stoney: Obviously I was currently in a job at the time, working with Phil (Neville) at the international team and I knew that there was an advert out for the job, I spoke to Phil in-depth about it, and we both felt that it was something that I should apply for. I should go through the interview process, I should put myself in the frame and give it a go. He knew that international football was great for me but I wasn’t on the grass enough with the players, I thought for myself that it was a great opportunity for me to build something, to be involved everyday with players. I went through a couple of interviews and was notified I got the job, so I was over the moon.
Women’s Soccer United: What appeals to you most about this new challenge?
Casey Stoney: I think the fact that there’s a blank canvas with the biggest club in the world. Manchester United has got such a steep history, a winning tradition and a winning mentality, an incredible football history, so to be able to be part of that and to build something from scratch was really, really exciting.
Women’s Soccer United: What are your expectations for Man Utd Women’s first season in the FA Women’s Championship?
Casey Stoney: We are not naive to think that everything’s going to be easy, we’ve built a team from scratch so it’s going to be one of our biggest challenges trying to get the players to play together, build philosophy, build an identity and that takes time. So, I think our expectations in year one are to be able to compete, to be able to produce some exciting, attacking football and to try and develop players. I don’t think we put any expectations on it, it’s just about building on the journey, it is not a one year project, we are talking about 5,6,7 years.
Women’s Soccer United How did you set about choosing your squad for Manchester United? Could you tell us a little about your selection, who we should watch out for?
Casey Stoney: Yeah absolutely, I think part of my recruitment process was people I knew, some of the best young players in the country. I wanted characters in the dressing room, I don’t want a bunch of robots, I want characters, I want people that when it gets tough they can dig in. I also wanted ability, so I went for the best players I knew of around the country, I went for exciting players with pace and I went for players who could manage the changing room so I went for youth with a little bit of mix with experience and players that I played with, played against and that I knew of.
Women’s Soccer United: What kind of playing style and philosophy are you hoping to achieve with Manchester United?
Casey Stoney: If your at Manchester United you need to be playing attacking football, you want to excite the fans and that’s what we have set out to do. We’ve got players with pace, we’ve got players that can change the game. We are young, we know that and we know we are going to make mistakes and get things wrong from time to time but that’s part of the process, that’s part of developing the team, the players and the culture that we want to create.
Women’s Soccer United: Will you have an involvement in the youth teams at Manchester United to see what players could potentially find a pathway to the senior squad?
Casey Stoney: Absolutely, I am really keen on that. It’s been a long time since they’ve had the opportunity to have a senior team to progress into but that pathway’s there now. I spent last Wednesday down at the RTC (FA Girls’ Regional Talent Club) all evening, watching from the Under-11s right through to the Under 16s seeing how we can progress those players through from Under 16s into our academy and then into our senior team so that we can bridge the gap from junior football to senior football and the academy is there to do that now.
It gives them (the players) a dream now, something they can believe in and try to achieve.
Women’s Soccer United: Former Bristol City Women manager Willie Kirk is your Assistant Coach, what would you say his strengths are?
Casey Stoney: He is absolutely brilliant, he was a key appointment for me. We are very different, he has a great humour, he has got a calm presence, he is great with the players and develops the young players really well, so having him by my side is fantastic.
Women’s Soccer United: How well do you know your FA Women’s Championship opponents? How did you prepare for the upcoming season?
Casey Stoney: We have done a lot of research, it’s not a division that I’d say I was overly familiar with because I have not played in it, but I know the teams in it, I know the players in it. Willie (Kirk) has obviously managed in it when he was at Bristol he got them up, he knows what its like to win that league. We’ve got people out watching, we are out watching and we are doing all the research we can so that we know what strengths they’ve got and see what areas we can exploit. But, its very much about us, I want us to focus on what we can deliver on the pitch and we stick true to that, no matter who we are playing.