To play at Old Trafford is the dream of any young Manchester United fan and yesterday, Ella Toone got to make that dream a reality.
The forward was part of the United side that beat West Ham United 2-0 in their first-ever fixture at ‘The Theatre of Dreams’ and after the match, Toone spoke about what a memorable experience it was for her.
“For me as a United fan, it’s a dream come true to play on such an amazing pitch for the club that you support,” Toone said in the post-match press conference in which FAWSL Full-Time were present. “It was really special to play at such an amazing stadium.
“I got a lot of messages off my uncles. My family are massive United fans and they were saying it was a dream of theirs to play at Old Trafford so make sure we score in front of the Stretford End.”
Toone didn’t score at the Stretford End but the player was simply delighted at the fact that United eventually collected the three points.
She said “Obviously, you want to score at Old Trafford but it didn’t matter who put it in the back of the net as long as we got the three points so I’m glad we got two at that end.”
Given the previous absence of a senior women’s team at Manchester United, many believed that the day would never come and Toone was also of that mindset.
“I think when I was younger and I was at the club and there was no women’s team, you never really felt there would be a women’s team or you would be playing at Old Trafford,” she said “I think it’s going to be special every time we step out onto Old Trafford.
“Hopefully there’ll be many more times in the future and that’ll be with the fans as well. Obviously, we want the fans at every game and our families there.”
Casey Stoney’s side had to do things the hard way to get all three points against West Ham United as they struggled to penetrate The Irons’ stubborn defence. Speaking about the challenge brought by the East Londoners, Toone said “We always knew they would be hard to break down.
“They did really well and they were resilient in their defending but I think for us, we knew it was coming and it was all about being patient.
Eventually, that patience paid off as United got two goals through Lauren James and Christen Press in the second half. It had been a difficult period for United with three defeats in their last four games, the latest of which came at the hands of Arsenal. United needed a response if they were to maintain their push towards UEFA Women’s Champions League football and Toone didn’t understate the significance of the victory.
“It was massive,” she said. “That was our main aim to bounce back from such a tough loss against Arsenal.”
United have four fixtures left of their league campaign and they’ll need four wins to give themselves the best opportunity of UEFA Women’s Champions League qualification. They travel to Brighton & Hove Albion for their next match on Easter Sunday.