England international midfielder Izzy Christiansen has returned to childhood club Everton following a mixed spell with European champions Lyon.
The Blue Girls have announced that the attacking midfielder has signed an initial 18-month contract on Merseyside as she looks to get her career back on track under the guidance of Scottish manager Willie Kirk.
Christiansen first broke onto the women’s football stage with Everton in 2008 at the tender age of 17 before moving to Birmingham City in 2009. However, it was at Manchester City where she truly made a name for herself. She scored the only goal in City’s FA Women’s Super League Cup final win against Arsenal in 2014 then in 2016 whilst still at City, Christiansen was awarded the PFA Women’s Players Player of the Year award and was also included in the FA Women’s Super League PFA Team of the Year. This rich vein of form soon attracted the eyes of Europe’s elite clubs and in 2018, Christiansen joined the European powerhouse of Lyon who were fresh off the back of their third consecutive UEFA Women’s Champions League title.
The midfielder struggled for game time amongst the embarrassment of riches that Lyon boast in their squad. She was limited to just 20 first team outings during the year-and-a-half which she spent with the French side. This challenge proved even more daunting when earlier this year, England manager Phil Neville stated that Christiansen would no longer be called up to the international squad if she did not get more first team minutes.
With the Olympic Games in Tokyo and UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 looming on the horizon, it is understandable that Christiansen saw her future lying elsewhere. That is when Everton manager Kirk came knocking. The transfer is good move for both parties and mutually beneficial for club and player alike as Christiansen craves first team action and Everton require players to elevate themselves to the levels of Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City.
Kirk had confirmed earlier this month that The Blue Girls would definitely be making some signings during the January transfer window, however, at the time he remained tight-lipped regarding who the new arrivals would be. Yet I doubt anyone imagined he would have acquired the services of a player as high a calibre as a Christiansen. Even so, following the stellar performances by the Merseyside club thus far this season, which has resulted in them occupying fifth spot in the FA Women’s Super League table, level on points with Manchester United, it is understandable that a higher profile of player in the women’s game will be taking notice of Kirk’s project and will be keen to be a part of it.