England legend Faye White admitted she was “quite jealous” after Arsenal Ladies unveiled dedicated facilities to their team at their training ground recently.
By Kieran Theivam
The London club, whose base is in London Colney, Hertfordshire, have had access to the men’s training facility for some time, but have never had their own facilities.
Now, on International Women’s Day, the club has announced a dedicated female ‘hub’ that is exclusive to the Arsenal Ladies players, which will see them have access to their own changing rooms, treatment room and ‘chill out’ lounge.
White retired from the game in 2013 after 17 years as a player with Arsenal, but she is still very much involved with the club, and was full of praise for the latest developments unveiled at a recent media day.
She said: “The players were training full-time last year, but they didn’t have their own hub at the training ground, so this latest development shows the commitment of the club to the players.
“It allows them to be more professional, and from Pedro Losa’s point of view, they can get better having their own facility. But this is very much only phase one – there’s more to come.”
For years, Arsenal Ladies set the standards for other clubs to reach, but since the launch of the Women’s Super League, that gap has gradually reduced, with the likes of Manchester City, arguably overtaking the north London club.
Swedish international Kosovare Asllani, a recent addition by City, described their facilities as ‘world class’, while fellow Swede Hedvig Lindahl has also publicly praised the setup at current champions, Chelsea Ladies.
So how much of this new facility and future plans were planned by Arsenal, and how much of it was a reaction to other clubs closing that gap?
“The club has always had plans for the ladies to take that step to the next level as and when needed, so I guess it’s a bit of both,” said White.
“It just shows that every season you have to respond to your opponents, both on and off the field.”
As well as off the field, the club has been busy trying to improve things on it following a season that was hampered by injuries in 2015.
In come England international Fara Williams, as well as Holland’s Danielle van de Donk, Germany’s Josephine Henning and exciting young Irish prospect, Kate McCabe.
With the new additions, and the brand new facility available to Arsenal’s players, White is optimistic her club can make a serious push for silverware this season, even if it does make her wish she was still involved – just a little bit!
“I couldn’t believe it. The year I retired they opened St George’s Park, and now Arsenal has this brand new facility,” she jokes.
“But it’s great to be here and seeing everything develop. There’s still a lot to be done in terms of growing the game, but I’m confident that will happen, and I’m hopeful that we’ll have a good season with the changes that are being made.”
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