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    England scores for Tottenham but it’s her old club Chelsea who seal important win in five-goal derby thriller

    EMMA HAYES joked she almost applauded after watching Bethany England and Drew Spence combine to cause Chelsea problems.Despite the Tottenham heroines haunting their old side– with England netting– it was the Blues who came away with a 3-2 win.
    Bethany England was on target for Tottenham with her first league goal against her former club after Chelsea took an eighth-minute leadCredit: Getty
    Lauren James’ stunning solo effort saw Chelsea restore their lead after England’s 16th-minute levellerCredit: Getty
    Hayes praised James’ “outstanding effort” but said the Blues want to be patient with her developmentCredit: Getty
    The victory, which included a classy Lauren James strike, saw the visitors return to top spot, with Manchester United held to a scoreless draw by Everton.
    However the title-holders had to withstand a late fightback from Rehanne Skinner’s side in the game’s dying stages.
    And they sealed another significant win in their push for a fourth consecutive WSL title.
    Of England scoring her first goal against Chelsea since her Tottenham move, Hayes said: “I nearly clapped.
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    “I’ve seen it thousands of times in training. I’m always proud of former players when they go on (to other clubs). 
    “When you have players that used to be part of your team, they’re going to have a point to prove.
    “I think our former players played very well and (Mana) Iwabuchi adds a lot of quality to them.
    “Beth has brought a lot to that team and for me Drew is unbelievable in their side.
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    Hayes jokingly added: “And I hope Rehanne doesn’t mind me saying this – their two best players are Chelsea’s players.  
    “On a serious note, I’m happy to see them thriving and I’m happy to see Tottenham are making this progression because Rehanne is a really good coach.
    “I’m glad to see that she’s been able to get an upturn in performance from her team.”
    Tottenham’s home clash with Hayes’ side came 11 days after the Blues knocked their hosts out of the Conti Cup.
    Spurs are yet to pick up a point against Chelsea in the league having lost their six previous encounters. 
    But they put in a battling first-half shift against the title holders.
    Hayes added: “There’s such a thing as home advantage and they played it to perfection. 
    “They knew their pitch, they knew the conditions and I thought they were aggressive
    “That’s something I know Rehanne has talked about wanting for her team. 
     “There’s always an expectation of, ‘oh it’s Chelsea, they’ve won lots and they’re going to dominate every week’.
    “But everybody else are professionals, everybody else has internationals, we should expect more of other teams.”
    Jess Carter opened the scoring for the visitors as they picked up their tenth win in 12 league games this termCredit: Getty
    Tottenham found themselves on the back foot in the eighth minute with an unmarked Jess Carter heading home from an Erin Cuthbert cross.
    But the visitors were caught cold on the counter eight minutes later.
    Some neat trickery from Spence was followed by her setting up England for a tap-in which the striker chose not to celebrate.
    The score remained level until the 27th minute.
    At that point James drove into the box from the wing with her shot deflected into goal off the post.
    And Guro Reiten doubled Chelsea’s advantage, slotting past Tinja-Riikka Korpela in the 64th minute.
    With two minutes of normal time remaining Nikola Karczewska nabbed a consolation for Tottenham who face Manchester United next.
    Spurs boss Skinner hailed England’s efforts and admitted to being frustrated not to see her side get something from the game.
    When asked if England gets enough credit for her clinical displays in attack, Skinner said: “The short answer is no.
    “Her stats prove it for themselves. I don’t think she has anything to prove.
    “She’s already done what she’s needed to over a number of years.
    Rehanne Skinner saysCredit: Getty
    “What she really needs is time on the pitch. We see straight away the goals she’s scored in a short space of time.”
    On if England should be in contention for a Lionesses spot with the World Cup looming, Skinner added: “If you’re playing well for club you have to be considered for your national team – it’s as simple as that.
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    “Obviously she’s going to keep working hard.
    “Everything we do here and what comes from that is out of her control she can only control what she’s doing here.” More

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    Alisha Lehmann fans beg her to join their club as she posts stunning pic after overtaking Federer on Instagram

    FANS have been begging for Alisha Lehmann to sign for their club.The Aston Villa star uploaded a post on Instagram and her followers have been loving it.
    Alisha Lehmann posed in her training topCredit: Instagram @alishalehmann7
    She plays for Aston VillaCredit: Reuters
    Alisha often sends her fans crazy on social mediaCredit: Instagram @alishalehmann7
    She has 11.5m followers on InstagramCredit: Instagram @alishalehmann7
    Alisha shows off her stunning figure on the beachCredit: Instagram @alishalehmann7
    Alisha often shows off her raunchy side which includes bikini snaps on the beach.
    And while she wasn’t in her bikini on this occasion, she still stunned in her training kit, showing off her blonde locks as she posed for the camera.
    The snap was liked more than 200,000 times and was filled with dozens of comments.
    And some fans love her so much they’ve even been asking for Alisha to sign for their club.
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    One said: “Come on down to Corinthians.”
    A second said: “Come to GALATASARAY.”
    Alisha, who’s the ex-girlfriend of Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz, has been playing in the WSL for the last five seasons.
    And while she hasn’t achieved loads on the pitch in terms of silverware, this Switzerland star has made a name for herself on social media.
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    On Instagram in particular she’s gained millions of followers.
    In fact, she even overtook the great Roger Federer as the most followed Swiss star on the app recently.
    The 21-grand slam winner boasting 11.2m followers, but Alisha boasts an incredible 11.5m. More

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    Eni Aluko says women’s football transfers will ‘eventually get to the £1million pound mark’

    ENI ALUKO believes the £1million barrier will soon be broken in the women’s transfer market.The WSL Hall of Fame heroine, 35, was sharing her thoughts last month prior to a dramatic January transfer deadline day. 
    Eni Aluko believes bigger transfer fees in the women’s game will help create a competitive economy within the sportCredit: Reuters
    Bethany England’s switch to Tottenham is reported to have seen her become the WSL’s most expensive British playerCredit: Getty
    A day on which Manchester United reportedly rejected a £500,000 Arsenal bid for Alessia Russo
    Today Aluko’s old club Chelsea head to Brisbane Road for a 12:30pm clash with Tottenham.
    The game is likely to see former Blues star Bethany England, 28, appear in her first London derby league match in a Spurs shirt.
    A moment that would also see the striker make her first top tier appearance against her old side following her switch for a reported fee of £250,000.
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     A figure that has reportedly made her the Women’s Super League’s most expensive British player.
    Aluko, who won two WSL titles and two FA Cups during her six-year second spell with Chelsea from 2012 to 2018, said: “In terms of how the transfer window has changed, it’s really the transfer fees.
    “You never used to hear of transfer fees before in the women’s game because there was just not the economy for it.
    “Clubs didn’t have the money, they didn’t have the budget, so players would just run their contracts down or mutually agree to leave.
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    “Now you’ve got the transfer fees, which are not the astronomical amounts you see in the men’s game, but we see with Keira Walsh’s move to Barcelona (from Man City) which was for £400,000.”
    In her past roles as director of recruitment for US side Angel City FC and as Aston Villa Women’s first sporting director, Aluko has overseen player transfers.
    Talents she recruited for Villa during tenure, from January 2020 to May 2021, include Japan ace Mana Iwabuchi who joined on a short-term deal in December 2020. 
    Last month a Fifa report revealed that four of the five biggest women’s football transfers of 2022 involved moves to and from WSL sides
    These include Keira Walsh’s world-record breaking switch to Barca last September. 
    Aluko, who is supporting the We See You network, a Chelsea-backed campaign, celebrating the achievements of women working in football. added: “Eventually, it will get to the million pound mark at some point.
    “Then we’ll start seeing bigger transfer fees. That’s something that is going to really help the game.
    “Clubs naturally are quite competitive, so the minute Tottenham buy a player in for £1million, then Chelsea might want to outdo them and buy a player for a higher figure.
    “It creates a sort of competitive economy that I think would be really healthy for the women’s game because it is value.
    “It’s all value exchange and it’s making sure the money in the game gets circulated and distributed and players get higher salaries, etc.”
    Tottenham’s swoop for England was followed by the club signing Iwabuchi on loan from Arsenal on January 18 and Spurs starlet Jessica Naz penning a new two-year deal on Friday.
    Today Tottenham boss Rehanne Skinner will aim to get a positive result against Chelsea.
    Her side, who are currently eighth and finished fifth in the top tier last term, hope to pick up for their first win in the league this year.
    Rehanne Skinner’s side will be hoping to get a result against Chelsea laterCredit: Getty
    Tottenham’s clash with Chelsea comes two days after Jessica Naz signed a new two-year deal with the clubCredit: Getty
    But they face a tough task with Emma Hayes’ team having won their past six WSL encounters.
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    Skinner said: “We’re in a space where we want to try and improve results, not just performances.  
    “Going into this, we want to give it everything we possibly can.” More

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    ‘The girls all want to be the next Alessia Russo’, says Manchester United ace’s former coach Colin Whitfield

    ALESSIA RUSSO has been at the centre of some boundary breaking football moments. From scoring during the Lionesses’ Euros triumph to netting a winner that saw Manchester United become the first WSL side to beat Arsenal at the Emirates in November.
    Alessia Russo’s former coach at Bearsted FC says the player’s efforts has led to more girls coming to train at the clubCredit: PA
    Whitfield recalls Russo scoring 76 goals in one season during her spell playing for Bearsted FC’s Under-10s sideCredit: Getty
    That stoppage-time header may have given the Gunners food for thought with the club reportedly making a world-record £500,000 bid for the 23-year-old,  which was rejected by United. 
    In March 2021 — five months after returning to fitness following a hamstring injury — Russo vowed to let her football “do the talking”. 
    She has done just that, contributing to the Red Devils’ title charge with five goals in nine WSL games so far this term as well as nine in 22 top tier appearances last season. 
    United are currently top of the table on goal difference from Chelsea ahead of today’s clash with Everton at 12midday.

    And Russo could potentially be a key figure in England’s World Cup campaign in the summer. 
    With her contract with United set to expire this year aside from the Red Devils other top clubs in Europe and the USA are thought to be chasing her signature. 
    One individual who is backing Russo to achieve more on the pitch is grassroots football Colin Whitfield
    The coach spotted the forward’s talent at Bearsted FC, the Kent-based club where she started playing at age six or seven. 
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    Of the Maidstone-born forward’s efforts for the club playing for their Under-10s, Whitfield said: “From the outset she was a phenomenal player. 
    “She was quick, she had quick feet, she would just sort of glide past players as if they weren’t there. 
    “Her shooting was just incredible. I remember when we played Crystal Palace in a match and she scored from the halfway line. 
    “It was mini soccer, so it was like a 30-yard shot, but she could score from anywhere. 
    “The season that she first played for us in our Under-10s, she scored 76 goals. 
    “These days she scores quite a few with her head — none of those 76 were headers!
    “She really was determined, and obviously gave up pretty much all of her time to the sport.”
    Whitfield, who played a leading role in establishing girls’ football teams at Bearsted, has watched Russo’s rise with pride. 
    He is also among those keen to see finances flourish in the women’s game — particularly in the transfer market. 
    Whitfield added: “It’s great to see the finances in the women’s game have started to creep up, and I say creep because they’re nowhere near the level of the men’s game. 
    “Personally, I’d rather watch the women play
    “I also think where Alessia’s concerned with the price tag, if it was ten years from now, I’m sure it would be a lot higher and I hope that’s the way that things will go. 
    “But she’s an extraordinary talent.
    “There are some talented footballers out there, but it’s unusual to get one that is so good with their feet, so good with their head, just an outstanding all-rounder.”
    According to Whitfield Bearsted FC had multiple girls teams during the time Russo was playing for their junior side.
    But as these players grew older, with some making the move to youth sides and women’s football development squads, the number of girls’ teams at Bearsted started to decline. 
    But Whitfield says the club, based in Maidstone, has seen a surge in interest in girls wanting to play football following the Lionesses’ Euros win last July.
    Alessia has inspired lots of people, not just at Bearsted. There’s a real sense of excitement. Colin Whitfield
    He also believes Russo’s success has benefitted Bearsted FC’s efforts to have a floodlit 3G pitch and training built for their players. 
    Whitfield says at present the club are paying £25,000 a year in fees to hire playing and training facilities for their teams.
    The club hopes to raise 20 per cent of the funds required to have a training area installed for their sides.
    Whitfield added: “With the girls, we had quite a few at the time Alessia was playing, but it petered out for a while.
    “When some of the players on my girls’ teams turned 18 and got into women’s football, there were no players coming up behind them.
    “We had a seven-year gap in the club with no girls teams
     “It’s great the current girls have started up and reinvented the girls’ side of the game in the club.
    “The girls in particular all want to be the next Alessia Russo.
    “She has inspired lots of people, not just at Bearsted. There’s a real sense of excitement. 
    “Off the back of her success, I can’t see it ever disappearing.
    Man United will be aiming for a win against Everton to maintain their spot at the top of the WSLCredit: PA
    “There’s so much interest from the girls. And that side of the game is really growing at the club
    “Before the Women’s Euros we put an application in for a floodlit 3G training area and that’s never really come into fruition 
    “But post-Euros the local councils and the Kent FA are really sort of pushing for that work to go ahead.
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    “At the moment the club are paying £25,000 a year in fees for for hiring facilities for the teams to use.
    “To be able have one of our own that we can use for our teams and also let the wider community use would be phenomenal.” More

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    Gareth Taylor happy to see goals shared as Manchester City gain ground on title rivals before clash with Arsenal

    GARETH TAYLOR hailed Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw’s “special” header as her tenth WSL goal this term helped Manchester City beat Leicester.Just as it looked as if the Foxes might dent City’s title hunt, Shaw and Chloe Kelly netted to a 2-0 away victory. 
    Khadija Shaw opened the scoring in the 60th minute as Manchester City broke through Leicester’s stubborn defenceCredit: Getty
    Chloe Kelly doubled the visitors’ lead with her first WSL goal of this seasonCredit: Reuters
    Janina Leitzig impressed in goal for Leicester with a string of saves for Willie Kirk’s sideCredit: Reuters
    And the encounter saw Leicester goalkeeper Janina Leitzig put in an heroic shift in goal pulling off ten first-half saves.
    City chief Taylor said: “We were probably a bit wasteful in the first 20 minutes. The game could have been dead and buried. 
    “In saying that their goalkeeper was inspired.
    !It was going to take something special to beat the goalkeeper and it was a special goal from Bunny Shaw. 

    “It was a great ball in and a really good header from Bunny. 
    “If she puts more power into it, she probably misses the target so it was a really class header. Chloe’s (goal) was a great finish as well.”
    The result saw Man City go 16 games without a loss with Taylor’s side leapfrogging Arsenal to go third.
    They also went a point ahead of the Gunners before their rivals’ Sunday night trip to West Ham.
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    And their second finish saw Kelly opening her WSL goals account for this season. 
    Taylor added: “Sixteen games unbeaten with two draws in there is some going.
    “I think that’s amazing and you have to give full credit to the players
    “With Chloe’s goal, we’re really pleased for her, and we want to win. We don’t really care who scores
    “We put a big emphasis on Bunny Shaw this season and she has done amazing and the rest of the players will chip in.”
    Before the fixture Leicester had lost their previous three duels with City conceding eight times in their last two league encounters. 
    But this match was a different story with the hosts coming close to an early lead as Hannah Cain forced a flying sixth-minute save from Ellie Roebuck. 
    Sterling defensive work from the well-drilled Foxes side kept the scoreline 0-0 in the first spell.
    Ashleigh Plumptre, Sophie Howard, Courtney Nevin and Leitzig all impressive at the rear for the hosts.  
    And Leitzig, on loan from Bayern Munich, broke the record for the number of saves in a WSL match. 
    Her string of stops included one off her ankle from a close range 15th-minute Shaw effort, as well a stop from a Hemp strike in the 39th minute. 
    The second spell saw Laura Coombs enter the fray in place of Deyna Castellanos.
    Hannah Cain came close to netting an injury time goal for Leicester CityCredit: Getty
    And it was Coombs Cross that Shaw guided home with a looping header to break the deadlock in the 60th minute.
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    The visitors doubled their lead 14 minutes after with Kelly firing home with a powerful left-footed strike.
    Cain later prompted an injury time save from Roebuck before the final whistle with Leicester facing Liverpool next Sunday. More

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    Eidevall ‘disappointed’ not to have signed another player in January window amid reported Russo bids

    JONAS EIDEVALL admits this January’s transfer window was a “difficult one” for Arsenal.He was speaking days after Manchester United reportedly turned down two record-breaking bids from the Gunners to sign Alessia Russo.
    Jonas Eidevall hoped to add one more forward to Arsenal’s ranks ahead of last month’s transfer deadlineCredit: Getty
    Victoria Pelova (right) joined Arsenal this January along with Denmark forward Kathrine KuhlCredit: Getty
    Man United striker Alessia Russo is reported to have been the target of two transfer bids from ArsenalCredit: Alamy
    The second of the two offers, claimed to have been rejected on transfer deadline day, is thought to have been nearly £500,000. 
    Eidevall, 40, whose side are in a race for the title, insists the Gunners did their utmost to bring in another forward. 
    His comments today come two days after Red Devils boss Marc Skinner said United are “hopeful” of agreeing a new deal with Russo.
    He insists United would do “everything in their power” to try and seal a new deal with Russo whose current contract expires this summer. 
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    Eidevall admitted it was a tough task to find a club willing to sell “quality players”.
    The Arsenal head coach told reporters: “I was clear in the window that we needed another forward. 
    “I know the club worked hard, but it was a very difficult transfer window, not to find players who wanted to join Arsenal, but to find clubs that want to sell quality players in this window.
    “That was very tricky, we were not successful, and of course we are disappointed with that. 
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    “Last summer we got one player too little, now we have done that again here in January.
    “I’m disappointed. Over time these things have a big impact.
    “Now we have to look forward and make the best of the situation. I still have a squad with a lot of qualities who I believe in a lot.”
    On Sunday Arsenal, who are currently third in the WSL, will face West Ham away at the Chigwell Construction Stadium. 
    The Gunners, who have a game in hand on Chelsea and leaders United, are currently three points behind their rivals. 
    Eidevall, whose team claimed a 3-1 win in the reverse fixture, added: “West Ham have proven to be a real threat in their aerial abilities especially with (their striker Dagny) Brynjarsdottir. 
    2We knew from the game that we played against them in the autumn that they pose a lot of different threats and challenges to the way that we play.
    “We will need to have a top game in order to get the victory.”
    Meanwhile West Ham have recently strengthened their forward ranks with Denmark ace Amalie Threstrup joining on deadline day from Dutch side PSV Eindhoven. 
    And the Irons have also bolstered their defensive ranks signing former Gunners centre-back Shannon Cooke from US college side Louisiana State University (LSU) Tigers.
    Irons boss Paul Konchesky said: “We knew we had those two additions coming in, so there wasn’t really any stress – we managed to get them both done in plenty of time. 
    “Amalie will give us a lot of work ethic and add experience to the team. 
    Paul Konchesky will be hoping to guide seventh-placed West Ham to their first win in the WSL against ArsenalCredit: PA
    “And Shannon is young, but she’s got leadership qualities that we like. 
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    “She does everything that West Ham fans will love when it comes to defending.
    “Shannon loves to get stuck in, but she can also play out with the ball – we’re pleased to have her here.” More

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    Skinner hopeful of Alessia Russo staying at Manchester United and talks of WSL star’s ‘real love’ for the club

    MARC SKINNER insists Manchester United have shown “a huge statement of intent” by defying Arsenal’s attempts to sign Alessia Russo. The Red Devils boss, 39, promised supporters the club will do all they can to try and seal a new deal with the England ace.
    Marc Skinner believes it would be huge if Alessia Russo were to extend her Manchester United career beyond this summerCredit: Getty
    The Red Devils forward has reportedly been attracting interest from Arsenal and clubs in the USA’s National Women’s Soccer LeagueCredit: Getty
    Skinner was sharing his reflections following a dramatic transfer deadline day on Tuesday for United’s WSL side.
    The club are reported to have a rejected a second world-record bid from the Gunners to sign Russo following an earlier offer from their rivals.
    Arsenal are thought to have made a bid of around £500,000 before the 5:00 pm deadline for domestic transfers.
    The WSL star, 23, whose current Red Devils contract is due to expire this summer, has been among the club’s standout performers this term.
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    The Man United forward, whose team play Everton on Sunday, has netted five times in nine top-flight this term.
    When asked how crucial it would be to see Russo extend her United career beyond this summer, Skinner said: “It would be huge for us.
    “I love Alessia’s qualities and what she adds to our group.
    “We’re building and helping these players progress.
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    “We’re trying to build them and give them the platform of being really top, top players and why would we want to stop that?
    “We are one of the, if not the biggest, club in the world.
    “For us it’s about keeping that momentum and we’ve got a lot of work to do.
    “But just because we keep Alessia, for example, in this window doesn’t mean that we are given any rights.
    “We’ve got to work, we’ve got to earn that and we’ll keep doing so.
    “But it’s a huge statement for us to say to her, ‘we value you, I value you and we want to build around you going forwards’
    “I’m going to try everything in our power to do so.
    “She has a real love for this club and we have a real love for her.
    “She’s exactly someone that we are looking to keep here.
    “She wants to win here and I just reiterated that she and I have always had this relationship where it’s business on the field.
    “We’ll work towards her being a better player and this club being a better team.”
    United are currently in pole position in the WSL ahead of Chelsea on goal difference.
    And while his players trounced the Toffees 3-0 away from home last October, they will host a fifth-placed Everton side who have won their last three league games.
    Man United will play an Everton side who are currently ten points behind them in the WSLCredit: Getty
    Results for Brian Sorensen’s side, who have Man City starlet Jess Park on loan, include victories against Tottenham, Reading and West Ham in December and January.
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    Skinner added: “We have a tough opponent on Sunday. Brian is an ultra-competitive person.
    “His team are really dangerous. We have to be really at our game this weekend in order to win.” More

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    Fran Alonso hopes Celtic deadline day swoop for Leicester’s Natasha Flint will boost team’s silverware hunt

    FRAN ALONSO joked Natasha Flint’s prowess on the pitch made him suffer during his stint at the helm of Lewes Women.The Celtic Women’s boss made his remarks after the Scottish Women’s Premier League side signed the Leicester forward on loan.
    Fran Alonso is backing Natasha Flint’s loan move to Celtic to be a successCredit: Kenny Ramsay
    The Leicester City forward will be hoping to notch up more minutes having made five starts in the WSL for the Foxes this seasonCredit: Getty
    Flint’s temporary move until the end of this season, confirmed before today’s 5pm deadline for WSL domestic transfers, ends weeks of speculation linking her to a Ghirls switch.
    Her transfer comes in a season that has seen the forward make five starts in the nine WSL matches for the Foxes netting once across those games.
    However the Salford-born forward, who began her senior career at Manchester City, finished as top scorer in the Women’s Championship during Leicester’s storming run in the 2020-21 season.
    She netted 17 goals in 20 appearances during the Foxes’ charge to the Championship title and promotion to the WSL.
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    And during a three-year Blackburn Rovers spell from 2017 to 2020, Flint bagged 70 goals in 60 appearances across all competitions.
    Efforts include an equaliser against Lewes during a match that saw Rovers hammered 5-1 in August 2019 when the Spain-born head coach was still in charge of the Rooks.
    Alonso, who has previously worked as an assistant to Mauricio Pochettino during his reign 2013-14 reign as Southampton boss, said:  “I’ve known her for a few years and I suffered a few times when she scored against my previous team.
    “Tash is a gifted player with fantastic finishing ability, has great one-v-one skills and very good long-range shooting, so in terms of weapons, she brings a lot to the team.’
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    “On top of that, she brings lots of experience at the highest level and I’m hoping the move to Celtic will add more silverware to her CV.”
    Flint’s move to the SWPL title chasers comes in a month in which Leicester added Remy Siemsen to their attacking ranks the player joining from Australian side Sydney FC on January 12.
    However the Australia striker is currently unavailable for Foxes duty having sustained an injury.
    Flint could be in line to make her Celtic debut when her club who are second in the SWPL take on Aberdeen.
    Alonso’s Celtic side are hoping to win the Scottish Women’s Premier League title for the first time in their club’s historyCredit: Kenny Ramsay
    Alonso’s side are currently second in Scotland’s top tier and three points behind title rivals Glasgow City.
    Celtic are chasing their first SWPL title win, having finished as runners-up on three occasions in the past 14 years.
    Glasgow City have been the division’s most dominant force winning 15 league titles in the past 16 years. More