Sophie Barker

Valuable Experience For Leicester's Youngsters, Says Barker

LCFC Women's younger players can take away vital lessons from Wednesday's 5-0 defeat by Manchester City in the Continental Tyres League Cup, says captain Sophie Barker.
More on this story...

- LCFC Women were beaten 5-0 by Manchester City on Wednesday night
- A youthful Foxes line-up included five debuts and four Academy graduates
- Captain Sophie Barker was proud of the Club's young players despite the result
- City exit the Continental Tyres League Cup at the group stage as a result

Manager Lydia Bedford made seven changes to the XI for a clash in which Leicester needed to produce a nine-goal swing to qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition. It was an especially youthful line-up, too, with five players making debuts and four Academy graduates also starting. 

Barker's experience was called upon on several occasions during the Citizens clash, who fielded a side littered with world-renowned internationals and honours winners. The former Sheffield United midfielder, though, was proud of the application of the youngsters, especially in the second half.

"We came in at half-time and the gaffer’s given us a few pointers," she told LCFC TV at full-time at Pirelli Stadium, one of two venues, including King Power Stadium, to stage LCFC Women's home fixtures this term. "To be fair, the girls listened intently and we only conceded one in the second half.

"Unfortunately, we couldn’t do that in the first half and it just goes to show we need to listen and switch on a little bit earlier to not concede so many goals in the first half, but the girls can be proud of themselves. Some of these girls are only 16 or 17 years old.


Barker On Debuts & Valuable Experience

Captain Sophie Barker assesses a memorable night for LCFC Women's Academy players, who featured heavily in the Continental Tyres League Cup defeat to Manchester City.

"I think the girls have done really, really well tonight. I’ve just gone in there, chatting to some of the youngsters, and they’ve absolutely loved it. I’ve just had a chat with a few of the guys on the side. These girls have played against their idols tonight.

"I’m the same age as them, so I grew up watching David Beckham and Paul Scholes, but these girls have grown up watching Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze and they’ve just had a game against them. It’s their dream come true really and it’s lovely to see that.

"Although we’ve lost the game, we’ve come out with some debuts and some really valuable experience. Some of these girls won’t have played at this level or at this tempo ever. A few of them went down with cramp, so they’re going to have to get used to that.

"It was an amazing experience for them and they’ve absolutely loved it. Although it was a big defeat, they’ve come away with a smile on their face and they’ve gained some valuable experiences playing against their idols tonight."

Barker was also pleased to get more minutes in the tank ahead of a vital run-in for Leicester, who next entertain Brighton & Hove Albion at King Power Stadium in the Barclays FA Women's Super League on Sunday afternoon (2pm GMT kick-off).

"It just keeps me ticking over really," the 31-year-old added. "I can still do it at the age of 31 which is good. It’s minutes in the legs now and hopefully I’ll get a few at Brighton.

"The gaffer’s made it the focus. We’ll continue to do that now over the next couple of days and hopefully we’ll give them a really good game and come away with a win."

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