10 September 2020

Leicester City’s Natasha Flint on the club’s bid for promotion into the WSL and becoming a full-time footballer

Leicester City’s Natasha Flint has said Liverpool and Sheffield United will be the club’s toughest competition in gaining promotion into the Women’s Super League this season.

The newly full-time club have ambitions to follow in Aston Villa’s footsteps this campaign and their new signing has told NewsChain the team have the WSL in their sights.

“That's what we're all hoping to achieve, to get promotion alongside each game we are hoping for a win, three points and a clean sheet but yeah that's our main aim this year - to gain promotion,” she said.

“Liverpool and Sheffield United [are our biggest competitors] and we have United at the weekend so it's going to be an interesting game. But I do think the toughest will be those two teams to be honest.”

Flint has experience in the WSL as she has played for Manchester City and Notts County, and is excited about the prospect of playing in the top tier again.

"It'll be a pleasure, that's where I want to get back to. I was young when I was there but it's a good league to be in and obviously it's the highest league to be in in women's football.

“So it would be good if we could get there as a team and as an individual it would be really good to get back there, yeah.”

City got their campaign off to a perfect start after they beat Flint’s former club Blackburn Rovers 3-0 last weekend.

The 24 year-old also had a dream debut as she slotted home two of the goals for her new side and said it felt unbelievable to be back on the pitch.

"It felt amazing. It was the best feeling ever. It felt so long since I'd been on the pitch and in lockdown it was so hard to find a pitch to play on or to find people to social distance with and do sessions with you. 

"It was just really hard I struggled in lockdown to find that so I was just doing road runs really which coming into training it does help you but at the same time it's completely different on the pitch to when you're just doing road runs.

“I hoped to perform at my best in my debut, I feel I had a good game, I go into every game trying to play my best of course. It was good, I don't go into any games expecting to score so to come out with two goals on my debut against my old club is something I was pleased with.”

City became fully professional this summer and Flint has said her main motivation for moving was the opportunity to become a full-time footballer. 

Last season, alongside football, she was working as a lab technician and she added being part-time in the sport is difficult.

"I'm [now] just waking up to go straight to training and play football and that's it all day every day, hit the gym, there are a lot of meetings.

"But the differences from my old job, it was very intense it was from going to work every single day and grafting away I just think it's so different. I understood how hard it was having a full time job and training but I understand how it looks now from the other side of the picture.

"I used to work nine to six or sometimes six, seven in the morning until like five. I used to do very long hours and then go straight to training and then I’d have ten minutes to get inside, get my boots on and stuff then train and get home at like half 11.

“Then back up in the morning to do the same, it was very hard.”

And while the focus in the media has been on the WSL and how the top league is developing, Flint says the Championship is also improving which is important to the women’s game.

"I do think it's a good league to play in, it's a competitive league to play in. It isn’t just like ‘oh this team is going to win this year’, you do fight in every single game which is good.

"For players who have dropped down from the WSL this year it’s probably going to be a different challenge for them. A lot of the teams in this league are a lot more physical because there are a lot of players in this league that aren't as technically good as WSL players.

“But what they will take to every single game is that strength and physicality on the pitch.”

City will play United away on Sunday.

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