Casey Stoney: Man Utd ‘can change the face of women’s football’

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    Casey Stoney won 130 senior caps with England before retiring in 2018

    Manchester United’s new women’s team can “change the face” of women’s football, says manager Casey Stoney.

    United will end their 13-year absence from the senior women’s game when they enter the new second tier, the FA Women’s Championship, this season.

    Former England captain Stoney’s full squad will be revealed on Friday.

    “Because the club is so big and has so much reach, they do things with immaculate detail. They take care of everything,” Stoney told BBC Sport.

    “I think we have the potential to change the face of the game because of the fan base, the profile, the way we’re going to do things on and off the pitch, which will excite people in the game to come and watch.”

    United, who disbanded their previous women’s side in 2005, were awarded a licence to join the second tier in May amid a restructuring of the women’s leagues in England, run by the Football Association.

    Charlton, Leicester, Sheffield United and Lewes joined them in being added to the part-time second tier.

    Existing second-tier sides Watford and Oxford United did not retain their places, while Sheffield FC have since withdrawn from the division because of financial pressures.

    ‘Long-term ambition’ is the Champions League

    Prior to taking the job as the new Manchester United boss, Stoney was assistant to England women’s manager Phil Neville.

    She stepped down from her role with the Lionesses in order to give “complete dedication and commitment” to United, who she believes can eventually secure a place in the Women’s Champions League.

    “Our short-term ambition is to recruit 21 players as well as staff, get them on the training ground, get them working, embed a philosophy, get playing in the Championship and make sure we’re successful there,” she continued.

    “Long term, we want to be a successful team within women’s football and that means Champions League football.

    “I haven’t put a timeframe on it. I think we’ve recruited well with players. We’ve got an exciting young squad. I know they will be ambitious.

    “Ideally we’d love to be promoted in year one but we also know there are 10 other teams who want to do that. They’re not just going to roll over and let Manchester United win the league.”

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