- Five debutants made their LCFC Women bow in Wednesday’s Continental Tyres League Cup defeat
- A star-studded Manchester City side were 5-0 victors at Pirelli Stadium to progress into the last eight
- Manager Lydia Bedford was pleased with how the four Academy starters handled the occasion
- Rotation of the squad has allowed extra recovery time for Sunday’s league bout with Brighton, she added
A strong Manchester City team ran out 5-0 winners at Pirelli Stadium to book their place in the quarter-finals of the competition, thanks to goals from Ellen White, Georgia Stanway, Vicky Losada and Lauren Hemp’s first half brace.
But it was still a night to remember for several of the Leicester’s Academy, who made their senior debuts against a host of England internationals.
Alanta Brown, Monique Robinson and Ava Baker all played from the off, the latter pair lasting 90 minutes, while Jess Camwell, also an Academy graduate, started for the first time this season. The manager believes it has provided valuable experiences and a huge learning curve for the Foxes youngsters.
Bedford told LCFC TV in her post-match interview: “We knew this game was about opportunities for some of those players to have a chance to step out on the pitch and the Conti Cup is a fantastic opportunity for us to be able to do that, particularly with tonight’s game.
“We knew we needed nine goals and a win to progress, so the priority for us was very much the weekend and it was a great opportunity for them.
“What was so pleasing is that they really tried to go toe-to-toe with those players and there were some good performances from some of those youngsters tonight.”
Four of the five goals arrived during a blistering first 45 minutes from Gareth Taylor's Citizens, who also named the likes of Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton and Keira Walsh in their starting XI.
Tonight was about giving some of those players who haven’t had debuts or many minutes this season a chance to have a go and I think they did themselves credit in that second half.Lydia Bedford LCFC TV
“When we saw their teamsheet at the start, they absolutely came out here to do a job tonight,” Bedford continued. “And that’s a great opportunity for our younger players to experience.
“They’ve had a look into what it looks and feels like to be a top, professional player and Man City is a team full of internationals, so it was brilliant.
“We tidied a few things up for them at half-time, helped them out a little bit tactically and I think the midfield area needed to flatten to stop getting overrun in that area of the pitch, but I think with the help of that, they were really resilient in the second half. Keeping it to one goal was a bonus.”
Goalkeeper Sophie Harris, who has had to bide her time for a chance between the sticks, and summer signing Luana Zajmi, were both handed their debuts too, getting minutes in the tank during a busy period of fixtures.
Pride The Overriding Emotion For Bedford
LCFC Women manager Lydia Bedford was pleased to be able to hand out five full debuts in Wednesday's Continental Tyres League Cup clash against Manchester City.
Brighton & Hove Albion are up next for the Foxes at King Power Stadium on Sunday, as they return to Barclays FA Women’s Super League duties.
“It would have been the same if we’d had played the game in December,” ex-England youth coach Bedford explained. “It would have been a great opportunity for me to see them before the Christmas break.
“Tonight was about giving some of those players who haven’t had debuts or many minutes this season a chance to have a go and I think they did themselves credit in that second half.
“The focus for this week has always been Brighton. We wanted to make sure that the majority of the first team group could be as fresh as possible, which is why we’ve rotated. Now it’s about getting back on the training pitch on Friday and preparing for that game.”
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