Sunderland Ladies’ Ramshaw to relish Chelsea test

Keira Ramshaw.
Keira Ramshaw.
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Keira Ramshaw insists Sunderland will relish the challenge of taking on the best women’s team in the land.

Chelsea arrive at Hetton as the Women’s Super League 1 leaders and clear favourites to hold the men’s Premier League and WSL titles at the same time.

The unbeaten Blues are five points clear at the top and have conceded only three goals in seven matches.

Chelsea arrive with their side something of a who’s who of the women’s game.

Such is the strength of their squad, they named England World Cup stars Katie Chapman and Claire Rafferty on the bench last week against Bristol and did not include big-money signing, Fran Kirby, at all.

And they still won 4-1.

But Sunderland have made a habit of upsetting the odds this season.

Many pundits’ favourites for the drop before a ball was even kicked, the Lady Black Cats have confounded the critics, beating Liverpool, Birmingham and Notts County en route to being third in the table.

And Ramshaw, the only born-and-bred Sunderland girl in the current starting XI, says they will give it everything to try to add Chelsea to their list of scalps.

“Chelsea are a great team, but we just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” said the 21-year-old, who was part of the side which beat County last Sunday.

“We’ve done the hard work in training and we’ll give everything we can on the pitch and hopefully come out with the result.

“Fran’s a great player and we know she can score goals – she does great runs to get between players and does great runs off the ball too.

“It’s going to be hard but I think we look forward to the big games.

“We want to be up there in the league and that’s what we are trying to prove and work towards.

“At the start of the season I think people were looking at us to see what we can do.

“Hopefully, we have proved we deserve our place in the top flight.

“To look from where the club started to where we are now is fantastic – we’ve come on a great deal.

“I think we are all really happy. We’ve stepped up to the mark as a squad and as individuals. We have put in extra training and we always give 100 per cent.

“We want to make our mark in this league and that’s what we’re doing.”

For Ramshaw, pulling on the red and white stripes in WSL1 is a dream come true.

The Ramshaw family, from Millfield, are regulars at the Stadium of Light to support Dick Advocaat’s side, while Keira said her life as a fotballer is down to brother Mark.

“It’s amazing to play for Sunderland,” she said.

“I live in the centre of Sunderland and supported the club all my life. To wear that strip gives me a great feeling of pride.

“I went through the centre of excellence and when I was 16 I joined Sunderland women’s team.

“My brother had me kicking a ball as soon as I could walk I think – so thanks to Mark!

“We all go to watch Sunderland as a family, I’ll always support them.”