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Kirsty Hanson reflects on the Casey Stoney philosophy that still benefits Man Utd

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Kirsty Hanson has credited the lasting legacy of former Manchester United manager Casey Stoney for nurturing the famously tight-knit bonds within the squad that continue to benefit the club.

United sit top of the WSL on goal difference ahead of reigning champions Chelsea and have a five-point cushion over fourth place Manchester City as they seek to finally break up the league’s established top three and qualify for the Champions League for the first time.

It is a journey that is four and a half years in the making, beginning in 2018 when United at last took the decision to reform a senior women’s team after disbanding the previous incarnation in 2005.

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The closeness that exists between the players is a major part of the on-field success being overseen by current boss Marc Skinner. Nikita Parris, who arrived after more than 10 years as a first-team player at other clubs, called it a ‘sisterhood’ and said she has never experienced it anywhere else.

For Hanson, who remains under contract at United until 2024 but is currently on loan at Aston Villa after struggling to get game time last season, the seeds were sewn by Stoney in 2018.

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“Casey Stoney was an amazing manager,” Hanson told the When Sunday Comes podcast. “She cared about every single one of us and the staff, and she knew who was a good person and a good player.

“She didn’t want any horrible people in the dressing room, so she picked wisely and had done a lot of research before she became manager, picking good players she knew she could work with and improve.”

Hanson went on to explain that Stoney’s work as manager in that sense went beyond the training ground or matchdays, putting a lot of effort into the people side of things – that was particularly crucial given that she initially needed to gel together a squad built completely from scratch.

Those principles later helped smooth the arrival of new players and integrate them. And given that plenty who played under Stoney still remain, what she put in place back then also lives on.

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“She worked very hard on doing a lot of team bonding,” Hanson said of her old boss.

“We did that almost every month – it was so fun. Even though it was a football club, that part in the first season was something special. We had fun every single day. Casey absolutely worked hard on what we needed to do to get the best out of us on the pitch and it definitely paid off.

“A lot of us left still in the Manchester United team know what it’s like to make sure we’re always professional but also have fun and keep bonding as a team.

“Throughout the years, there were new players coming in, so we knew how to integrate them straightaway. I think that is what’s really helping them as a team still. They are all winners – they all want to win games and trophies. Whoever comes in, we are all so welcoming and just want [new players] to integrate and be part of the team straightaway. They are like one big family and the nicest people every who look after each other on and off the pitch.”

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Kirsty Hanson

Kirsty Hanson has played a crucial role in Man Utd’s rise / James Gill – Danehouse/GettyImages

Hanson explained that Stoney’s personal touch in player management was particularly good.

“You don’t get many Casey Stoneys in the world,” the Scotland winger said. “She understood us and wanted to know about us straightaway when she met us.

“She used to get the analysis guy to make me motivational videos and send them to me before games. She knows I like music and I’m a visual learner, so watching what I’m good at and then putting into a game. She still messages me now every so often, just checking how I am. I think that shows she still cares and will still message every player she used to coach.

“I think it showed, when she left, how gutted we all were and she is definitely missed and is already doing great things at her new club.”

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Find out where you can listen to the full When Sunday Comes podcast with Kirsty Hanson here.





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Cody Gakpo reflects on first month at Liverpool

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Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo has opened up on his first month on the books at Anfield, admitting he is still getting used to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics.

The Dutchman was wanted by a number of elite sides, with Manchester United expected to win the race for his signature, but it was Liverpool who snuck in and agreed to pay an initial £35m to bring Gakpo to England.

The 23-year-old, who made his name as a left winger but has spent time as a striker at Liverpool, is yet to score after four appearances for his new side, but he told club media that is it just a matter of getting to grips with his new surroundings

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“My feeling, personally, is everyone in the team has so much quality,” he said. “That is what I see in training and in phases in the games.

“It is also a part of football, that sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to. We just have to keep improving, working hard, and the quality will come out. Then, you’re going to see the real Liverpool.”

He continued: “From a football perspective, it’s a new environment on the pitch, with new players and a new team. I can tell it’s a really great group. Every day I am looking forward to working with them, to train hard and to play the games. I am trying to adapt as quickly as possible, to improve every day and in the end show the best version of myself.

“Off the pitch, to be honest, I haven’t been in the city so many times yet. Most of the time I have been in the hotel. I am moving this week, actually. That’s also something I’m looking forward to.”

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Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Gakpo also confessed that he is still trying to adapt to his new role in Liverpool’s team.

“It is a little bit different to what I’m used to,” the Dutchman admitted. “Normally, I have played on the left for almost the past three years.

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“It’s something I can improve, playing in the striker role, and I want to show my quality there. It’s a great position and playing there makes me more complete as a technical player.





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Fulham launch bid Fluminense midfielder Andre

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Fulham have made a bid to sign Fluminense midfielder Andre, 90min understands.

The 21-year-old has quickly established himself as one of Fluminense’s top players and a number of sides across Europe have expressed an interest in luring him away from his homeland in 2023.

Sources have confirmed to 90min that Fulham have approached Fluminense to try and thrash out a deal, but the Brazilian side are reluctant to part ways with their star player during the 2023 campaign.

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Andre, who has been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool, has spoken out about the interest and insisted his focus remains solely on his current employers.

“Obviously, I’m focused and very happy,” Andre said recently. “I just renewed my contract until 2026.

“It’s normal to get offers, but I’m focused here on Fluminense and having an excellent season.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

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If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Andre’s agent, Carlos Leite, also took to Instagram to confirm that the 21-year-old had agreed to remain with Fluminense until the end of the current campaign, which runs over the entire calendar year.

“Thanks to the great work carried out, Andre entered the radars of some of the biggest European clubs and, with that, he has received several enquiries and some official proposals,” Leite wrote.

“However, the player and Fluminense, through president Mario Bittencourt, sealed an agreement for the midfielder to remain at the club at this time, with all the dedication and commitment, always seeking the best for Fluminense in all competitions.”

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Sporting CP manager makes Pedro Porro admission as Tottenham talks continue

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Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim has warned Tottenham that he will not take right-back Pedro Porro out of his starting lineup until a transfer has been 100% agreed.

90min understands Tottenham are confident they will get a deal over the line for the 23-year-old eventually, but Sporting’s reluctance to budge from their asking price of Porro’s €45m release clause has led to some lengthy negotiations which are not yet over.

And while Porro is still contracted to Sporting, Amorim will not hesitate to use the right-back and risk an injury which could see the entire move collapse.

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“Porro does not leave before the game,” Amorim said ahead of Saturday’s Allianz Cup final against Porto. “Clubs have to come first, and as far as I know, a player who is able to play and is signed up by a club, he has to go to games.

“I realise that [negotiations] involve a lot of players’ minds, but the indication I have is that Porro is fit, and the most important thing for me, as a manager, is that if he wasn’t there, there would be someone else. The game cannot be played with just one player. Porro is fit. Whatever has to happen will happen, we are prepared for all scenarios.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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Amorim continued: “Is this Porro’s last game at the club? I don’t know. There are a few days left until February 1, then everyone will know if Porro stays or leaves.

“Porro hasn’t left yet. We are scouting, but not everything is easy, you’re in a real hurry to send Porro away!”

Spurs have repeatedly tried to lower Sporting’s asking price for Porro by including at least one player in the deal, but the Portuguese side have been clear about their determination to hold out for the right-back’s release clause – in full.





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