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Friday, January 27, 2023

Casey Stoney feels like a ‘proud mum’ watching Man Utd thrive

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Former Manchester United manager Casey Stoney has described herself as a ‘proud mum’ watching the success of the team this season, having worked with so many of the players that are thriving.Stoney was appointed United’s first new manager upon the overdue restoration of a first team in 2018, guiding the club straight through the Women’s Championship and then immediately snapping at the heels of the established top three in the WSL.But after a flying start to the 2020/21 campaign, which remains United’s best-ever start to a top-flight season, Stoney resigned suddenly in May 2021 amid frustrations behind the scenes over several months relating to training facilities and budgetary concerns.Marc Skinner was appointed her successor a couple of months later, which left minimal time for preparation and targeted recruitment ahead of the 2021/22 season. But improvements were seen throughout the campaign and United have stepped things up a level so far in 2022/23.“I think their squad depth is the best it has ever been. I’m really proud of where they are at,” Stoney, now in charge at San Diego Wave in the NWSL, told Sky Sports.“They’ve got an incredible group of players – the bulk of players there are still [those who] signed and played for me. When I’m watching United I feel a bit more like a proud mum because I know the players so well and I hopefully had an imprint on what they’re doing now.”Of the current United squad, 10 were recruited by and played for Stoney – including Ella Toone, Alessia Russo, Mary Earps, Ona Batlle and Katie Zelem.The core of Skinner’s team has largely remained the same, with the supporting cast gradually changing and evolving over the last 18 months.The depth that has been added to the squad over the last three transfer windows since the summer of 2021 has been credited with pushing United on to a point where they are more able to consistently compete with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City.For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter!

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