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Chloe Kelly is becoming a not-so secret weapon for Man City Women

Chloe Kelly speaks to M.E.N Sport about her move to Manchester City.

Chelsea v Manchester City - Women’s FA Community Shield Photo by Justin a Tallis/Pool via Getty Images

Chloe Kelly speaks to M.E.N Sport about her move to Manchester City ahead of their blockbuster WSL game with Chelsea.

Manchester City signed two World Cup winners and two Champions League winners this summer to send a message out that they were under new management.

Arguably, though, it has been a 22-year-old winger that was picked up from Everton that has made the biggest impact at the beginning of the Gareth Taylor era.

Chloe Kelly may not have had the most normal introductions to life at the Etihad Campus - being added to a group chat with your new teammates and meeting your manager for the first time while being swabbed for a Covid test is very 2020 - but the pacy winger has picked up exactly where she left off before the pandemic.

A danger as soon as that headband goes on in what has become a pre-match ritual, Kelly has scored four goals in her last four appearances to give the Blues some momentum as they travel to champions Chelsea on today for what is always one of the biggest games of their season.

In a squad packed with talent, City’s No.9 is happy to be standing out for the right reasons after some questions about the move.

“I’m loving life at Man City at the moment,” she told M.E.N Sport.

“Playing Champions League football at one of the best teams in the world is a massive thing for me so it’s a great club with a lot of ambition and a great history in the women’s game.

“It’s a step that I really wanted to take and a lot of people may have just thought it was too much of a big step for me but I was confident in my ability and once I spoke to Man City they were confident in me too.

“It probably gets a rise out of me to prove [doubters] wrong. I feel like if I’m confident in myself and my group of people around me are confident in me then I can do it and that’s what I want to show that I am capable of being at a top team like Man City.”

It is a sign both of how new the standards are in the women’s game and the progress made in a short space of time that it was only six years ago that Kelly, having kicked a ball about with her brothers since she could walk and being in academies since she was 8, began to think she could seriously have a career in the game.

She moved up to Everton at 19 from Arsenal to prove she could make the step up as a first-team player and blossomed last season with 9 goals in 12 appearances. On Wednesday she made a happy return in the Continental Cup -

“I am absolutely buzzing for them to get to Wembley, they deserve it massively,”

she added - in a City team containing USWNT international Rose Lavelle and a host of England teammates.

The arrival of Lavelle and fellow American Sam Mewis - as well as Christen Press and Tobin Heath at United and Alex Morgan at Spurs - has certainly lifted the profile of the WSL as it aims to return to normality after an aborted 2019/20 campaign.

As well as shouldering much of the burden of expectation on the team, the US imports are already influencing their new surroundings.

“They’re true leaders, true winners and I feel like the winning mentality from them is great to be in the Man City set-up,” said Kelly.

“Sam and Rose are great additions as well as Alex [Greenwood] and Lucy [Bronze, two England internationals signed from Lyon]. That experience of winning the World Cup is great to have around the group and they are true leaders. Even in training, Sam has got a very good winning mentality and that just shows even in the training sessions that she brings that there as well.

“If the group can add a bit more of Sam into them, it’s even better.

“For the whole group, it was great that they did sign for us and they are showing what they are capable of.

“For me, I just want to do my work on the pitch. I don’t really talk too much. I just let the football do the talking and try to give 100 per cent every game and just do what I can for the team and try to score goals and assist.”

As much as the experience around can help, Kelly does not need extra motivation to improve.

She watches her matches back a few times and analyses the performances before trying to work on that in training. The wondergoal scored against Leicester last week cutting in on her right before arrowing the ball into the far corner, was the result of working on exactly that at the end of sessions (as well as a lot of talent).

Chelsea will be doing their homework on the England international for Sunday, but they and the rest of the WSL need to watch out for what is still to come.

“I’m confident in myself and I feel that I cut in and I can also go down the left if people are thinking that’s all I’ve got in my game. It’s mixing it up really but I’m confident in my ability. If it is not working the first time I will still keep at it but I did similar for Everton last season.

“I just want to be the best version of myself. I want to create and score as much as I can, whether that is scoring myself or assisting the team. Give my all for the team and I want to score as many goals as I can this season but hoping for plenty of silverware this season too.

“It’s just having consistency in my performances and getting better each week. Sometimes you will have a dip in your game but it is having more good games than bad and just being positive even when things aren’t going well for me. I want to work on my defensive game too but if people are thinking that I’ve only got one thing in my locker then working on other things too and being different.”