Danielle van de Donk

Danielle van de Donk wins SSE Women’s FA Cup Player of the fifth round

Midfielder Danielle van de Donk insists Arsenal will approach the forthcoming FA WSL Spring Series high on confidence despite their SSE Women’s FA Cup defence coming to an end.

The Gunners saw their hopes of another trip to Wembley extinguished on Sunday as Marisa Ewers’ goal proved the difference in their quarter-final clash with Birmingham City.

Dutch international van de Donk played 82 minutes of the match before being substituted –she was unable to provide the same heroics as she had done in the previous round where she bagged a hat-trick in the 10-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.

That performance saw her picked as the SSE Women’s FA Cup Player of the fifth round but, while both van de Donk and Arsenal will no longer be able to get their hands on further silverware in that competition, the Gunners star has big plans for the rest of the season.

Arsenal open their FA WSL Spring Series campaign with a home clash with Notts County on April 23 with van de Donk insisting the team will come out firing after their SSE FA Women’s Cup disappointment.

“I think we can learn a lot from it – Birmingham is always one of our difficult games,” she said. “If I want to take good things out of a bad thing, I think it will be better for us ahead of the Spring Series that we have had this disappointment. We can grow from it and hopefully it won’t happen again. I hope other teams will be scared of us – we’re not scared of anyone and that’s the feeling you need to create. We’ve proven we can win and we just had an off day. In the Spring Series and the league later this year, we cannot afford to have another off day and that’s what we’re going to work for. Not every game is going to be a game where everyone is in full flow like the Tottenham win. I was delighted to get the player of the round for that round, although everyone was at a good level in that game. You have to grow together and be better every single game.”

The midfielder is also set to be part of the Dutch side which will host this year’s UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 in July.

And while tipping England to shine, the playmaker was not looking past her own side’s chances, admitting a clash between the two countries would be a special occasion.

“It’s amazing, I’m buzzing. To be hosting it is incredible,” she said. “I think it’s going to go very well. I’m sure everyone will feel welcome – but I don’t want to be there in my mind yet – I’m here with Arsenal and I’m focusing on that. It’s in the back of my mind but I want to play well for Arsenal first. We’ve both got chances – it’s football and there’s always a bit of luck. You don’t necessarily have to be the best team to win. Anything can happen. I think if we’re at the top of our game and England is at the top of their game, we’ll cross each other somewhere. If they played each other, the Netherlands would win! We played England in November and we lost 1-0, but we played really well – they just had a bit too much.”

Tickets are now on sale for the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final on Saturday 13th May at Wembley Stadium connected by EE. For the second consecutive year, kids go free to the final. Adult tickets cost £15 and can be purchased here: https://ticketing.thefa.com/

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