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Gabby George on her delayed introduction to Everton Women’s new boss and targeting Manchester United win

Gabby George’s immediate priority when Champions League winner Jean-Luc Vasseur became the new Everton manager would have been to make a good impression.

But for the Frenchman’s first training session, she wasn’t there. Nor the one after. George, away on international duty with the reformed England U23 squad, had to rely on her team-mates for reports on her new boss.

And while the 24-year-old was at St George’s Park trying to impress Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman enough to earn a recall to the senior international squad, back on Merseyside those not away with national teams were equally keen to shine under the watchful eye of the Toffees’ latest boss, who barely a year go was leading Lyon Women to a Champions League and domestic league double.

A 1-0 win over Belgium in Tubize in which she played 90 minutes was a positive end to George’s camp, and in the end her absence did not cost her too much in Everton selection terms as she featured from the off in a 1-0 defeat by Brighton last weekend.

Sunday 14th November 11:30am Kick off 12:30pm

She told Sky Sports: “It was mad to know that he’d obviously already come in and was working with some of the girls and everyone’s then a bit confused as to where they stand – but he’s come in and worked really well with all of us.

“This manager likes to get us on the pitch a bit more, to try to implement his tactics and his philosophy. Having someone who has done big things in the women’s game before is really good for us.

“I think everything’s a stepping stone going forward, and we want to reach the top. But obviously, we need to take our time – so having someone that’s done it before and can show us the ropes, how and what needs to be done to get there is great.”

Vasseur brings an impressive CV to the north west as he looks to succeed where, in the Everton board’s eyes at least, Willie Kirk didn’t and bridge the gap to last season’s top four. In 2020/21, the Toffees finished only one spot behind fourth-placed Manchester United, but they were 15 points behind United and finished closer to relegated Bristol City than the top two.

Jean-Luc Vasseur named Everton Women managerGet Sky SportsStream Everton Women vs Manchester United Women on NOWA significant reshuffle of the playing staff followed in the summer, with ex-Barcelona forward Toni Duggan returning to her hometown club among nine new arrivals which also included club-record signing Hanna Bennison – named as one of the top-10 most promising young players in Europe by UEFA last year.

Five of the new faces started the 4-0 opening-weekend thrashing by Manchester City. They have had to learn fast against some of the best opposition in the league, and it’s been tough. Everton have already faced all four sides who finished above them last season, and they lost all four games.

Those mitigating circumstances weren’t enough to save Kirk, who was shown the door after almost three years in charge last month with the club eighth in the table and fresh from another hammering by City in the Conti Cup.

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Highlights of the WSL clash between Everton and Brighton. The introduction of new players can often be toughest on defenders, like George, who need to be part of a unit that understands its organisation and structure without the ball to be able to do their individual jobs properly.

“It’s been a difficult start,” George says. “We had a lot of new players come in and we’re just trying to find our feet. We’ve had a lot of changes this year in terms of manager, and lots of new players.

“So I think we just need to be patient with ourselves. Obviously, you play football because you want to win. So that’s what we try and do, but I think we need to get our bases right first, and make it all a big building block towards something more.

Women’s Super League news | Fixtures | TableFollow the WSL on Sky Sports”[Having so many new players] was new for me. Plus I was back after my injury, so I was almost another new player, just not an official signing. But we’re all sticking together, we’re working really hard on the training pitch and hopefully the results will start to come.”

The injury George mentions happened in February 2020, when she ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee and was told she would require surgery. A month later, the national lockdown hit. It would be June before she went under the knife and could begin the long road to recovery.

Whatever happens in Sunday’s game with Manchester United, live on Sky Sports Premier League as part of Women’s Football Weekend, she will be grateful to have been a part of it at all.

She says: “When I was out, I was dreaming about playing and I get to do that everyday now. So I don’t really take it for granted. Every time I get step on the training pitch it’s a good day. But I feel like it’s gone so quick, now we’re fully back into the season. It’s been a crazy turnaround, but I’m enjoying every minute.

“Every game we play we want to win, and nothing’s different against Manchester United. We just want to get as many fans as we can down, get Walton Hall Park booming. We’ve had a good turnout since since we’ve opened it, so we just want to emphasise that, with the men not having a game this weekend.”

Everton Women take on Manchester United Women at Walton Hall Park on Sunday 14 November at 12:30pm as part of Women’s Football Weekend. Tickets are £8 for adults and £4 for seniors and junior supporters. Visit the ticketing section on evertonfc.com to get your tickets today.

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