Spotlight On Ella Toone23 Sep, 2020
Manchester United are arguably the biggest in world football and since the re-formation of their women’s team, they have been turning heads during their journey so far. One player who perhaps deserves more recognition for their rise is midfielder, Ella Toone.
The 21-year-old from Tyldesley in Greater Manchester joined United in 2018, after spells at Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City. Toone had previously been a member of United’s Regional Talent Centre but, like Katie Zelem, was forced to leave the club due to their being no adult side to progress into.
In her first season at the club, Toone played twenty games scoring fourteen goals as Casey Stoney’s side secured promotion as Champions.
Last season was somewhat harder for Toone who only managed thirteen appearance, many from the bench, and just a single goal, but that was bound to happen and dafter making the step up to Super League and overall she equiped herself well and had a bigger impact during United’s cup run.
From the small amount of football so far this season Toone has continued her development and scored in the recent 5-2 win against Birmingham City.
United have a number of strong midfielders but being handed the iconic number 7 shirt by Stoney and her contract extension is an indication of the faith that Stoney has in the young midfielder.
Stoney said: “Ella is a fantastic character to have in our squad; she brings great enthusiasm and competitiveness to everything she does. As one of the younger players in the squad I have no doubt she will push herself further and continue to develop throughout her time with us.”
Toone’s former Blackburn Rovers teammate, Lynda Shepherd, told me “I could see Tooney was always going to be a little star, from the moment she came into the first team, she added value on and off the pitch.
“She was a character off it and brought quality on it at such a young age! I liked that she had a little bit of a bite and wasn’t afraid to tell us senior players!
“She was a pleasure to captain and to play along side! I have no doubt in my mind she will continue to succeed, but I know she puts in a lot of a hard work, she is very grounded and deserves all her success.”
Phil Neville has also taken note and called Toone up for the recent Lionesses training Camp at St George Park, scoring a header during one of the televised practise matches.
The Barmy Army’s Natalie Burrell’s is not surprised by Toone’s England call up. She told me, “I could tell she had talent in the Championship and her goal tally was a testament to that. She stepped up well during last year’s Super League campaign scoring important goals in the cup and always making a positive impact when coming off the bench. She might have started her career as a winger she is now on way to becoming perfect number 10.”
I like the way that Toone exploits space and is always looking to be positive on the ball. I would love to see her given the chance in the Team GB squad competing at the Tokyo Olympics next summer. A good performance here could open the door to becoming a Manchester United and Lionesses regular for years to come.