Millie Turner of Manchester United W.F.C. and Kirsty Smith of Manchester United W.F.C. celebrate after the match WSL Tottenham Hotspur Women v Manchester United Women, The Hive Stadium, London, UK - 13 Oct 2019 Photo: Michael Zemanek for The FA

A tale of two Turners – Manchester United’s trusted defensive duo

The team selection since Manchester United’s inception has often featured the defensive centre-back pairing of the two Turners, Millie Turner and Amy Turner.

In this article, I look at how the pair began their dreams in football and what led them to their new home at the Leigh Sports Village.

The younger of the pairing is fans’ favourite Millie Turner, a tall, strong defender easily adept to deal with aerial duels and put in a strong tackle. Wilmslow-born Millie shared her youth career at a handful of clubs including Stockport County, Manchester City, Crewe Alexandra, Everton and her current club Manchester United. She became one of the youth prospects to return home following the creation of United’s senior team in 2018. Millie also spent time in the USA in her youth career, an opportunity which often is the making of some of the greatest footballers. She spent her early career progression with Everton, graduating into the senior side in 2014. She moved on to Bristol City in 2017 where she made 26 appearances and was promoted to club captain.

Millie is a natural born leader who you can expect to see become United’s captain in the future, organising her defence and playing the ball out quickly turning an offence into an attack. She has become a near ever-present member of the squad and has undoubtedly been one of the first names on the teamsheet. The defender adapts to whoever partners her in defence and she has forged a unbreakable partnership with Abbie McManus this season, one which could one day be replicated with the England side if Millie gets the call-up that she deserves. She has previously featured in the England youth set up and was just 16 when she played for England for the first time at Under-19 level. Millie is a real asset to this United team, she is a player with such calmness, composure, defensive quality and consistency that should see her rated as one of the best English defenders in the country.

Her namesake, who can also be found in United’s defence is Amy Turner. The Sheffield-born defender has featured for many clubs in her career including Doncaster Rovers Belles, Notts County and Liverpool prior to moving to United. She made her debut for Doncaster Rovers Belles at just 16 years of age before moving to the USA to play National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) college soccer at Hofstra University. She returned to Doncaster Rovers Belles for the 2011 FA Women’s Super League 1 season. In a quest for game time, Turner had to drop down the leagues where she represented Leeds United and Sheffield FC. She finally got her golden opportunity in 2013 when FA Women’s Super League 1 side Lincoln Ladies (later rebranded as Notts County) asked the defender to join, where she became a key member of the team. She was named on the shortlist for the PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year in 2015, but lost out to Leah Williamson. Unfortunately, Amy sustained a knee injury which also coincided with the collapse of Notts County, leaving many players without a club.

Amy joined Liverpool in 2017 where she was to play with her current manager Casey Stoney but she had to wait a year to finally make her debut and return from injury. The defender became one of many faces to depart Liverpool for Manchester United in the summer of 2018 and she has since gone on to make 29 league appearances so far in her career at the Leigh Sports Village, 27 of those outings being starts. Amy has previously represented England seniors on four occasions, making her debut in the 2015 Cyprus Cup when Stoney withdrew with injury, though she hasn’t featured since 2015. She is a strong and ruthless defender, with superb knowledge of the game.

The two Turners have already etched themselves into United history and there is plenty more to come from the popular pair in the future.

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