Janine Beckie of Manchester City Women and Hayley Ladd of Manchester United Women Manchester City Women vs Manchester United Women, WSL football match, Etihad Stadium, Manchester, UK - 07 Sep 2019 Photo: Lynne Cameron for The FA

OPINION: Hayley Ladd – Signing of the summer

Hayley Ladd has had an impressive start to life at Manchester United, having featured in all 11 games this season, cementing her place in the starting line-up.

The English-born Welsh international moved to the Leigh Sports Village on a free transfer from Birmingham City in the summer having turned down a new contract as she became another member of the mass exodus to leave the Blues.

The central defensive midfielder started her youth career at St Albans City and Arsenal, whom she joined aged nine. Ladd struggled for senior appearances during her time with The Gunners and in the summer following her A-Levels, she joined Finnish side Kokkola Futis 10 on the advice on the then Welsh team coach Jarmo Matikainen. In her short spell at the club, Ladd made 11 appearances and she returned to England with some much-needed experience.

As she started her studies for her Human Biology degree at Loughborough University, she joined Coventry City. Following the completion of her degree, she moved to Bristol Academy where she spent three seasons before moving to Birmingham City. She became an integral part of the team there making 36 appearances, before Stoney and Manchester United came calling.

Ladd’s Welsh heritage and opportunity to represent the Welsh national team contributed to the player opting for an international career in red despite her English birthplace. Her senior debut was made in 2011 in a defeat to New Zealand. She has since built 58 caps for her national side with her 50th being in January of this year.

The midfielder is renowned for her hardworking attitude and her decisive strong tackles. She possesses the ability to stop an attack before it builds with one of her challenges before creating a United attack herself. The Welsh international is able to take the pressure off the central defenders and offers a quality that was much-needed at United, alongside experience that has no doubt helped the team settle into life in the FA Women’s Super League.

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