Manchester City Women are facing their biggest game of the season so far as they host table-topping Arsenal on Sunday, but goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck is unfazed by the challenge.
The 19-year-old, who recently made her England debut alongside teammate and housemate Georgia Stanway, is fully aware of the threat posed by the league leaders, who have won all nine of their league games this season.
But with 21 goals scored and just two conceded in their last five, City are in dominant form – and Roebuck hopes that momentum can see them put a stop to Arsenal’s perfect start.
“It is a big game, obviously, a top-of-the-table clash,” she admits. “But I think we’re in a good place and we’re ready for the game.
“I think all the girls are feeling confident. Obviously we know Arsenal are in good form but I wouldn’t take anything away from the fact we’re in good form also.”
Both sides have been scoring for fun this season, with Joe Montemurro’s Arsenal side averaging close to five goals scored per game in the league.
For goalkeeper Roebuck, though, the entertainment matters little – a scrappy 1-0 win would suit her just fine.
“I think the fans probably will want that high-scoring game but for us, I think we’re defensively solid and we have scored a lot of goals but it’s similar with Arsenal,” she says.
“They’re defensively solid so it could potentially be one goal that grabs it, but hopefully that’s us.
“We’ve had quite a few high-scoring games and I think coming off the back of a clean sheet is good.”
Sunday’s game will be a special occasion for City whatever the result, as the club celebrates the 30th anniversary of their first-ever women’s game.
Next up… the big one!
City v Arsenal
Sunday 2 December, 12:30pm
— Man City Women (@ManCityWomen) November 25, 2018
A number of former players and staff will be present for the celebration, looking back on the 27th November 1988 – when a Manchester City side beat Oldham Athletic Ladies 4-1 at Boundary Park.
The current squad are fully focused on the task at hand, but they are aware of the occasion and keen to mark it with what could be a season-defining win.
“It’s important for us as players and as a club to really recognise that they built our foundations,” she says, “although it’s only in the past five years that it’s really come to front and we’ve had the backing from the club to really push it on.
“I do think it’s really important that we don’t forget what happened before and the hard work that has been put in there.”
While she may not be between the sticks when the club celebrates its next 30-year mark, at 19 and firmly established in the first-team squad, Roebuck is well placed to continue building her career at City for years to come.
“I wouldn’t say I’d ever expect to play because you’ve got to work hard to put yourself in that position,” she states.
“But I think I had a good year last year, played 20-odd games and that was kind of my first season where I played in the league and had a bit of consistency.
What a feeling…absolutely made up and honoured to receive my first England senior call up can’t wait https://t.co/OtpcC74ml2
— Ellie Roebuck (@EllieRoebuck_) October 30, 2018
“It’s a great club. If you look at what we have, I think you’d struggle to find [elsewhere] the backing and the support, the fans we have. It’s great, the fans are great, everything – the team structure, the way we work.
“There’s not really a better place or anywhere else I’d want to be.”
Image courtesy of Sheffield FA via Twitter, with thanks.