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Ella Toone reflects on key reason for Man Utd’s improvement this season

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Manchester United star Ella Toone has suggested that increased competition for places due to substantial summer recruitment is behind the club’s improved WSL results this season.

Having dropped too many points from winning positions last season to command a top three place and Champions League qualification, United are just three points off the top of the table with a game in hand at this stage of the 2022/23 campaign.

Marc Skinner’s side have won six of their seven games, scoring 18 goals and keeping five clean sheets. They bounced back from defeat to Chelsea at the start of November by securing a landmark comeback win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last time out.

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“It’s down to the recruitment and the players we signed over the summer,” Toone told ManUtd.com. “We’ve got unbelievable depth in the squad now and some amazing talent…young players, more experience players, and I think we’re all coming together really well.”

Plans for summer recruitment were being spoken about as far back as January, with a lack of depth compared to the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City seen as the major flaw in the squad.

That was addressed by bringing in new faces all over the pitch. Maya Le Tissier has been the biggest success story as far as cementing a place in the starting XI, but Lucia Garcia and Nikita Parris have both also started fairly regularly. The likes of Adriana Leon, Aissatou Tounkara and Rachel Williams have been more limited in terms of minutes but have had an important role behind the scenes.

“Everyone is fighting to be the best in their position and that is what drives you in training,” Toone said. “The standard is so high now in training because everyone wants to play and knows they’re good enough. It doesn’t let your standards drop, personally.”

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Skinner recently revealed that the level of competition and the positive results are among the main reasons Vilde Boe Risa is struggling to command playing time: “We’ve been playing well, so there is nothing given to anyone in this team. You have to earn everything.”

Toone, who brought a renewed hunger to win into the season off the back of a starring role with England at Euro 2022 during the summer, also commented on the togetherness in the squad that has also been mentioned this season by Parris and Skinner.

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“We’ve all got that hunger and desire to do even better than we did last year. We’re just really connecting on and off the pitch, which really helps and I think you can see that in the performances we’re putting in,” she explained.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter!





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Leicester confirm signing of defender Harry Souttar from Stoke City

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Leicester have finalised the signing of Australian centre-back Harry Souttar from Stoke on a permanent deal.

The 24-year-old returned from a serious knee injury only weeks before the World Cup but put in some excellent performances as Australia reached the knockout stages.

90min understands that a fee of £15m has been agreed for Souttar, who has now put pen to paper on his contract at the King Power Stadium.

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Leicester have endured a tricky winter window, missing out on a number of targets, but they have managed to bring in three new faces.

Brazilian winger Tete has joined on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk after his loan with Lyon was terminated, while 20-year-old Danish left-back Victor Kristiansen will join Souttar in attempting to shore up Brendan Rodgers’ defence.



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Keylor Navas joins Nottingham Forest on loan

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Nottingham Forest have confirmed the loan signing of Keylor Navas from Paris Saint-Germain until the end of the season.

The Costa Rican comes to the City Ground with a wealth of top level experience having won three UEFA Champions League titles during a lengthy tenure at Real Madrid, before enjoying a stint as PSG’s number one goalkeeper – winning two Ligue 1 titles in that time.

This season however, Navas has been fully usurped by Gianluigi Donnarumma in the PSG goal, meaning that he’s now had to go out on loan to find gametime elsewhere.

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A club statement on the signing reads:

“Nottingham Forest is delighted to announce the signing of Keylor Navas from Paris Saint-Germain.

“The goalkeeper has signed on loan for the remainder of the 2022/23 campaign.

“Navas, 36, brings a wealth of international and domestic experience to the Club, having made 564 appearances in a trophy-laden career.”

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Nottingham Forest confirm signing of Jonjo Shelvey from Newcastle

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Nottingham Forest have completed the signing of midfielder Jonjo Shelvey from Newcastle United.

Shelvey joins on a permanent deal, signing a two-and-a-half-year contract at the City Ground.

“It’s a pleasure to be here. As soon as I found out Forest were interested, it caught my eye straight away and I just couldn’t wait to get down here,” said Shelvey, who will wear the number 6 shirt for Forest.

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“It’s a fantastic football club that has so much history and I’m really looking forward to getting started.

“My main goal straight away is to fight for my place in the team and stay there. It’s not going to be easy because there’s a lot of competition for places, but it’s a challenge I’m really looking forward to and the competitiveness can only help the team going forward.

“I spoke to Eddie Howe and he had such good words to say about Steve Cooper. I previously knew of him from my time at Liverpool, so I knew what a fantastic coach he was, but meeting him for the first time has been a breath of fresh air.

“He’s told me what he expects and the high standards he sets, so I can hope I can come and help the team push to stay in the Premier League. I’ve been in this league a long time, I know what it takes to stay up and what it takes to get a good team to gel, so I’m looking forward to getting started and working with the players that are here.”

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Forest are also hoping to finalise the signing of Keylor Navas from Paris Saint-Germain later on Deadline Day.



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