Manchester City ace Casparij eager to follow in the footsteps of Netherlands stars who have shone in the WSL | The Sun
KERSTIN CASPARIJ is hoping to turn her Manchester City move into a fairy-TAYL
Her side's duel with Marc Skinner’s Red Devils could see the Netherlands ace take to the pitch in her first derby since her July switch from Dutch side FC Twente.
The Citizens midfielder, 22, who began her senior playing career at 15 at Dutch club SC Heerenveen, is one of seven players who joined the Conti Cup holders this year.
And her arrival followed the departures and retirements of several former City aces including Euros-winning quintet Ellen White, Georgia Stanway, Jill Scott, Keira Walsh and Lucy Bronze.
Casparij, who made 42 FC Twente appearances helping her old side a league title win last year, said: “Gareth got me very excited about my move here.
“The first time Gareth and I spoke to each other he was just very football minded which I liked
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“I could really spar with him on what I thought or what he thought and he was very open about that.
It's just nice when you have a first conversation with a new coach to have that open mindedness.”
Today’s match between Taylor’s team and Manchester United, who are second in the table, will be the first derby encounter in the league between the rivals this season.
The highly anticipated clash which is expected to attract 43,000 fans will see both sides face-off at the Etihad for the first since September 2019.
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Back then the hosts, who are currently fourth clinched a 1-0 win courtesy of a 25-yard thumper scored by their former forward Caroline Weir.
The Citizens are yet to lose to United in the league and have gone on a six-game winning run after losing to Aston Villa and Chelsea.
However their neighbours currently have the advantage of a three-point lead in the race for the title and a place in one of the WSL’s top three spots for Champions League qualification.
And last month Skinner’s side clinched a dramatic 3-2 win against Arsenal at the Emirates.
Casparij insists the squad mood going into this match is a relaxed one.
The midfielder, who has made seven WSL appearances this term added: "We're really down to earth but we want to win every game
“We know we have to and we want to do well in the league this year and win things.
“Everyone's just really relaxed and focused on each game. The main thing is that we don't get overconfident."
Off the pitch Casparij is eager to get to grips with Mancunian phrases.
She added: “I like saying 'I'm buzzing' but I feel like I say that all the time so I have to come up with some new phrases.
“When I joined and was doing my medical, some of the players would say phrases like 'you're not Manc mate' or 'only people who support City are Manc' and stuff like that.
“But I wouldn't like to burn my fingers by saying that to anyone because I don't want to fight!”
In recent years players from the Netherlands have made their mark on the domestic game in England including the WSL’s record goalscorer Vivianne Miedema.
Other Dutch players who enjoyed trophy-winning success on these shores include former Gunners Danielle van de Donk and 2019 World Cup Golden Gloves winner Sari van Veenendaal.
Along with Miedema and former Arsenal midfielder Dominique Janessen both were part of the squad that helped Arsenal to a WSL league title win in 2019.
Casparij, who was part of the Netherlands side that reached the Euros quarter-finals’ said: "The Dutchies who have been there have done amazing for themselves.
"This makes it maybe a little bit easier for like the new generation of girls to come into the WSL.
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“There's a reason they thrive and there's a reason we actually love being in the UK.
"I think it's massive for them to have taken the first step."
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