New signings and new partnership kick off pre-season for Newcastle United Women
Written by Joseph Nelson
Newcastle United Women manager Becky Langley has been explaining the hard work she has been undertaking with her staff to bolster their squad ahead of the 2021/22 season.
Whilst there were some outgoings, Langley is thrilled with the additions she has made to her team and is eager to see what the Lady Magpies can achieve during their next campaign.
"We are really excited with the quality of the new signings," said the Newcastle Women manager. "They are fresh, energetic additions and we can't wait for them to get started."
Olivia Watt, one of a raft of new signings for the Tyneside team, is a player that Langley knows well from their time working together at Northumbria University.
"Olivia Watt is a tremendous signing," the manager said. "She adds extra class and quality to an already talented group. She's very humble and has the exact traits we expect of a player who represents Newcastle United Women."
Watt has taken no time at all to feel at home, and lauded the way that Langley, the squad, and the staff at Newcastle United Women made her and her fellow new arrivals feel welcome.
Watt said: "It was really easy to fit in. I love the togetherness of this team."
Integrating new players into the squad can be a challenge, but Langley and her staff have taken steps to ensure that the transition for the new players is as smooth as possible.
"We took part in a beach session at Cresswell which was hugely important for team bonding," said Langley. "We built fitness through sand dune runs, as well as having some fun with games of head tennis and rounders."
Langley also named Becky Ferguson as another exciting player that she has added to the squad this summer.
"Becky Ferguson is currently pushing to get into the England under-17s team," said the Newcastle Women manager. "She's got plenty raw talent and is a natural finisher."
In addition to this, Langley hailed the addition of several hard-working, technically gifted players to her squad. The manager said: "Leanna (Giles), Jess (Spark), Kiera (Skelton), Georgina (Spraggon), Lois (Greenslade), Orla (Callaghan) and Rosie (Missen) are all great with the ball at their feet.
"They continue to refine those skills and work extremely hard for the team, whilst further developing themselves."
Newcastle United Women have started their pre-season well, drawing 1-1 against Middlesbrough Women in their first friendly before beating the same opponents 2-1 on Sunday, either side of a convincing win against Wallsend BC Ladies.
Watt felt that there were many positives to take from all three matches, and something the squad can build on.
She said: "On Sunday we produced a brilliant performance against a team in the league above us and we can definitely use it as a foundation to build on as we progress towards the start of the season.
"Considering we have never played together as a back four, I think we gelled together very well and looked very solid."
Whilst there have been many additions on the pitch, Newcastle United Women have also been busy off the pitch, securing a new sponsor for the new season.
Wade Financial will become official sponsors of the squad when the 2021/22 season commences, joining Arnold Clark and Northumbria University as valued partners of the team throughout their upcoming campaign.
Based in North Shields, the financial planning company was keen to get involved with the club based so close to home and Wade Financial branding will appear on the United Women's shorts.
Speaking of the new partnership, Langley said: "The new sponsor from Wade Financial adds to the financial and emotional support our other sponsors showed us last season. The backing of sponsors is key to ensuring that we can perform at a professional level, both on and off the pitch."
Photograph courtesy of Colin Lock/@Tyneside_NUWFC
"We produced a brilliant performance against a team in the league above us and we can definitely use it as a foundation to build on as we progress towards the start of the season."