Ladies boss says experienced players have big role in WSL adventure.Mick Mulhern will be counting on his experienced players to shine when Sunderland Ladies make their WSL debut next year.
The reigning National Premier League champions will join the WSL’s second tier when the new campaign kicks off in March.
Mulhern has developed an experienced squad boasting a number of full and youth internationals – and a return of three league titles in as many years is evidence of their progress.
That spine has been augmented by a wave of younger players including Keira Ramshaw, last year’s 30-goal top scorer Beth Mead and Abbey Joice, who impressed last year straight out of the club’s centre of excellence.
“Beth, Keira and Abbey are all international players in their age groups and hopefully they will have a big impact,” Mulhern said.
“We’ve got a few other players with international experience – the likes of Kelly McDougall, Rachael Laws and Helen Alderson, plus Sarah McFadden and Rachel Furness.
“There’s some experience there and that will be very important. We are going to need that kind of leadership, without a doubt.”
The Lady Black Cats’ figurehead on the pitch is long-serving captain Steph Bannon, who has lifted a multitude of silverware since taking the armband.
But Mulhern says it’s vital the central defender receives support from all over the pitch when the new campaign kicks off in March.
“My captain has been there and seen it all, has been in the role for a few years and is still only 24,” he explained.
“She has led the team for the last few years and we’re going need leadership right throughout the team.
“That’s something I always encourage – it’s not just about one or two players, everyone has to take responsibility.