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Grace Donnelly named new Newcastle United Women captain

Written by Joseph Nelson

Newcastle United Women goalkeeper Grace Donnelly will captain the Lady Magpies for the upcoming 2022/23 season after long-serving skipper Brooke Cochrane retired in May.

Donnelly takes over the mantle on the back of an impressive season both for her and the club - in which she played every single minute - and says she can't wait to get started.

"It is an honour to be asked to captain Newcastle United," she exclaimed. "The club is a great environment to be a part of and it's an exciting time for us.

"I feel very lucky to captain such a great group of lasses. I've grown up supporting Newcastle so to get the opportunity to be captain is amazing."

Last season, Donnelly expertly marshalled a Newcastle Women defence that kept nine clean sheets in the FA Women's National League (FAWNL) Division One North.

In addition, the Lady Magpies only conceded 16 goals all season, the second lowest figure in the division.

The departure of Cochrane will naturally leave a big void in the Newcastle Women dressing room, but manager Becky Langley believes Donnelly is the person to fill it.

She said: "It is a huge honour to wear the Newcastle United captain's armband and Grace epitomises every leadership quality on and off the pitch that's needed. As well as being a great goalkeeper, she's a great girl within the group. I know Grace will police the dressing room for me!

"Grace has also said that as Shay Given wore the armband for the Toon, she will be the female Shay for the season."

Donnelly works closely with Newcastle Women's goalkeeping coach Chris Stygal to continually improve her game.

Stygal is delighted by Donnelly's appointment as captain of the Lady Magpies and believes she will thrive in her new role.

He said: "It is fantastic news that Grace has been selected as captain for the upcoming season. She is respected by both the experienced players and youngsters coming through, as well as all the staff.

"Her leadership qualities were shown last season, always calm under pressure and has a wealth of experience she can draw on to drive the team forward."

Newcastle Women are due to begin pre-season training on Tuesday, 5th July, with the FAWNL season kicking off on Sunday, 21st August. After a historic campaign last term, the Lady Magpies - and Donnelly - will be hoping to kick on again in 2022/23.

"I feel very lucky to captain such a great group of lasses. I've grown up supporting Newcastle so to get the opportunity to be captain is amazing."

Grace Donnelly

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