Izzy Christiansen: English club taking European crown would be ‘massive’ for WSL

By Sports Desk April 18, 2024 232

Former England midfielder Izzy Christiansen believes an English team winning the Champions League would be “massive” for the Women’s Super League.

No English team has won the competition except Arsenal in 2007, although Chelsea have come within touching distance of the trophy after reaching the 2021 final, but were beaten 4-0 by Barcelona in Gothenburg.

The Blues are hoping to go one step further this season as they continue their campaign with two semi-final ties against Barcelona this month and Christiansen believes an English Champions League winner would be beneficial for the WSL.

“Chelsea have been knocking on the door for the last three or four seasons with the Champions League,” she told the PA news agency.

“Everyone knows you almost have to go through that disappointment of being in a final, getting knocked out in the knockout rounds and the situation now where they’re in the semis, it’s going to be tight, but those previous experiences will definitely help them.

“If there were to be an English team to win a Champions League in the next few years then it would be massive for the league and solidify the work that goes into the league and creating this really high performing, sustainable, competitive model that brings out Champions League winners from our country year on year.”

Christiansen is no stranger to success herself in the Champions League, having been part of Lyon’s side who claimed glory in 2018-19, and she described playing in the competition as a “different” feeling.

“It’s like – as cringe as it sounds – there’s magic in the air, this feeling you feel on a Champions League gameday that’s just different,” Christiansen added.

“I think it’s really important everyone understands how big it is and if we can have teams that continually compete in the latter stages of that competition then it’s massive for the WSL.”

The WSL title race is set for another tight finish with Chelsea and Manchester City sat level on 46 points at the top with four games to go.

City sit second on goal difference and Christiansen believes her former club have been “brilliant” this season.

“It’s really interesting actually because I’ve seen a massive shift this season in the way that they play,” she said.

“Nothing’s really changed massively, they’ve been really consistent with the methodology, the style, the manager, the players.

“The squad hasn’t changed much since last season. Jill Roord coming in – if she was still fit you’d be wondering where City would be right now, probably a similar position – but the job Jess Park’s done since coming in, the job Alex Greenwood’s done, Lauren Hemp’s just been outstanding.

“Without the Champions League there’s been huge focus on the WSL and that consistency. The squad, the culture within the squad, all of these things matter and I think they’ve been brilliant.”

Christiansen was speaking ahead of this year’s London Marathon taking place on Sunday; she is running for the Bobby Moore Fund and admitted is is an “honour” to be doing so for the cause.

“It’s an honour really because Bobby Moore being a former England international, a legend of the game, he died of bowel cancer which is the reason why I’m running the London Marathon is to raise awareness of the early symptoms of bowel cancer,” Christiansen said.

“His wife set up the foundation when he died basically with the aim to raise as much money and awareness towards research, which I believe has been extremely successful.

“It was really nice the other day I had an email from Stephanie Moore, his wife, wishing me good luck and inviting me to a post-run drinks reception, which I’m sure will be very nice come around three o’clock on Sunday afternoon.”

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Last modified on Thursday, 18 April 2024 07:35
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