IN CONVERSATION: Lionesses defender Alex Greenwood talks about joining Manchester City from Lyon

As you will be more than patently aware, this summer’s transfer window in the FAWSL has been like no other*. The stream of world cup winners and international stars signing permanent or loan deals across the 12 sides reached its near jaw-dropping climax in the final week or so. The thrilling moves also included the return of two Lionesses from Lyon. 

*We couldn’t bring ourselves to use the word ‘unprecedented’.

The English quartet of Jodie Taylor, Alex Greenwood, Lucy Bronze and Nikita Parris with the French Cup. (PA Images)

That it is a happy homecoming, of sorts, for Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood – albeit one that has been coated in pantomime-level social media disgruntlement from Manchester United fans towards former skipper Greenwood – was certainly evident in an understandably upbeat online chat that both new arrivals had with the media, this week.

You will have picked up some of their comments across the coverage (and how Lucy’s dog Nala latterly stole the show) but for those who want to read more of what they had to say, here’s a run through their thoughts on their time in France, their return, ambitions, and how important England and upcoming competitions were in the equation. 

First up was ALEX GREENWOOD

On the experience of winning the Champions League and the ambition to do the same with City:
I think it’s an addictive feeling. The feeling I had when we won the Champions League last week was something I can’t really put into words. It’s something that sticks with you and you just want to do it again and again and again. That’s exactly why I’ve come to this football club. It’s so ambitious. It wants to win trophies and titles and that’s the same for me.

 

“Overall, it was a fantastic experience and I absolutely loved every minute of being over there.” Alex Greenwood on her year with Lyon. (PA Images)

On whether she is a better player than the player that went to France [a year ago] and in what ways:
I believe I am. I went there with what I thought was experience and maturity and I think have left there with a great deal more. I don’t think you can walk into that dressing room and walk out not having improved when you play with them and train with them players every day. They’re a fantastic group of people, their mentality to win is something I’ve never experienced before and it’s been proven by how successful they are. I’ve took a small part of that with me and I’m hoping I can put that into the changing room I’m in now and install belief in every game that we play. The team I’m in now is already successful, I just want to continue that.

Man City's new signing, Alex Freenwood
“When I knew City were interested, it was an easy decision for me.” Alex Greenwood

On the differences between the French League and the WSL:
They are completely different. The WSL is completely professional and the French league isn’t and I think there’s a massive gap between the top teams in France and probably the lower teams, that’s clear to see. That’s why I think our league is the best league to play in. The WSL is in a much better position than the French league in terms of professionalism and every team being a full-time.

On why she moved to
City, over anyone other club:
A number of reasons really. Speaking with my agent and clubs and looking at my options, I think one was probably to stay where I was, in Lyon, and continue what I was doing. I was really happy at the time. Two, was probably to come back towards home. When I knew City were interested, it was an easy decision for me. Their ambition met exactly what mine was. I was excited by the new manager, their plans for the future and what they saw in me and what I could bring to the club. Everything just felt right.

On whether the sizeable (11 players in the current England squad) number of Lionesses at City influenced her decision:
It helps to settle in. I’ve been there this week and I feel like I’ve always been there and the girls are brilliant, including young girls coming through with so much potential. We’ve got a great mixture of experience. I wouldn’t say it was a key factor in signing but it’s helped massively. When you look around the dressing room it is just talent after talent.

On the competition she will face from fellow England left back Demi Stokes:
That’s part and parcel of football, if you want to play for the top clubs you can’t expect to walk in and not have competition. It’s how you win football matches, you improve the squad and that’s important. At Lyon the squad spoke for itself, it was unbelievable. It’s the same here.
We’ve been competing for the same position for four or five years now and you know that’s a healthy competition. We’re good friends, we get on, we push each other. If anything it’s going to improve the team and if that helps us win then that’s all that matters.

(Chloe Knott for The FA)

On her excitement, as an England player, at the the strength of the WSL:
Yeah, unbelievable. I think it can only improve us as a nation. If the league keeps improving, the players keep improving and England keep improving and it’s a knock-on affect.
It’s a fantastic league to be in. For me, it’s the strongest league in women’s football, without a doubt, and that’s why we attract those players. Watching from France and then obviously coming over it’s been so exciting to see. I’m looking forward to being a part of the league this season with all those players.

On the signings her former club Manchester United have made:
I expect nothing less from a club like that, signing those players, and same for the other clubs as well. I think everyone’s shown their intentions for the season. No team is going to be easy to beat and that’s exactly how we want it to be.

On whether she considered the United factor when moving to City:
I’m completely aware of the situation. I understand why people are frustrated, disappointed and absolutely entitled to their opinions, of course.
I expect friendly banter, no more. I completely understand. I’m not stupid. I grew up as a football fan. I grew up in the game. I’ve been brought up around the sport and I’m totally aware of the situation. Does it motivate me? Probably a little bit, yeah, when it comes to the game, I’ll probably have that little extra buzz on that game, but that doesn’t change for any other game. I’m motivated to win every game that we play. That’s absolutely fine, it’s just football, but for me, it’s about my ambitions as a footballer and what I want to achieve.
I gave 100% for that football club and no one can ever take that away from me. But now my focus is Manchester City and being successful here.

IN CONVERSATION: Lucy Bronze on leaving Lyon, re-joining Manchester City and her England ambitions

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