Man City’s Dena Castellanos hoping to impress in Manchester derby


reincarnation of manchester city womenThe team in 2014 coincides with a major change in women’s football in England. The wheels were already turning with Matt Beard’s multinational Liverpool team who would go on to win their second consecutive league title during Man City’s debut season. women’s super league,

Nick Cushing, who took the reigns ahead of City’s debut season in the top flight, would lead his team to victory in the League Cup during his first campaign. Chelsea in the semifinals before beating armory in the final. (It would also be the first season in which the Gunners failed to win the trophy: they won the first three and have since added two more.) The coach, now working with NYCFC, spent his first season and a half with his finesse. Spent The squad, and despite there being few non-British in the team, Cushing always espoused a home ideal.

When City won their first – and only – league title in 2016, the team did so with just four non-British players – defender Megan Campbellmidfielder daphne corboz And tessel midgahead Kosovar Aslani – in their ranks. But far from shocking the league with an almost perfect campaign in which the Sky Blues dropped just four points all season, the title win signaled a strong change of guard and an era in which professionalism and improved standards were paramount.

Outside of their first season in the WSL, City have finished lower than second on only one occasion: last season, when they finished third in the league, which meant they would start the 2022–23 campaign with a Champions League clash. was still sufficient. Yet life if the WSL is getting trickier all the time, not least thanks to the growth of local city rivals, manchester united Which are currently three points above City in the table.

Although Sunday’s clash (7:30 am ET/12.30 pm GMT) will not mark the first Manchester derby or even the first to be played at the Etihad – the men’s stadium hosted when both started the 2019-20 season Had started. In front of a crowd of 31,213, a record for Super League at the time — a fitting venue for the growing rivalry between two of England’s best teams. That said, City do have a sense of an edge: they have yet to be beaten in the league by United, and have yet to concede a point or even concede a goal at home. , When the two sides have clashed in the past.

Even though this will be the third game played by the women’s team at the Etihad – following the derby in 2019 and a League Cup group game against Everton in 2014 – it will be Gareth Taylor’s first outing as City manager at the home of the men: new The days of a largely homegrown squad led by Cushing in the first match of the round, played at the Etihad, were replaced with a new-look team that brought together high-profile stars from around the world, mixing in a diversity of experience and strength. pulls the his signature Dena Castellanosannounced in early June, contains everything about the new [Taylor] era in Manchester.

Rising to fame in his teens playing at the top level of the US college system at Florida State, the Venezuelan young forward’s exploits were so great that he was even shortlisted for the FIFA Best Award in 2017, eventually finishing third. [in the world], But much more than a footballer, Diana has already worked in broadcast journalism for Telemundo during the 2018 and 2019 World Cups and brings an analytical eye to her work on the pitch as well.

That comprehensive view and focus of the bigger picture is arguably what brought the dynamic attacker to Manchester, with the 23-year-old looking to challenge in new and different ways. Speaking to ESPN last month, the Venezuela captain admitted it might sound a bit silly to some, but she can learn and play in less than ideal weather, the last two days of pro soccer in Spain. Something has gone wrong with the game. season’s.

Manchester City provide the perfect environment for her to be the best she can be and as much as she enjoys the city and her life away from the pitch, it is important to get out of her comfort zone. It has also been a constant theme throughout Diana’s career, since she left her home at the age of 17 to play and study in the USA. Thrust into a foreign world, she admits it was a frustrating time: she was unable to communicate with those around her as she only spoke Spanish at the time, although she was happy to state, Football only speaks one language.” But it was off the pitch, in his lectures and in social situations, where he first struggled before getting a grip on the language.

Naturally friendly, she is an expressive player on the pitch as much as she is shy of it, but it seems Diana has already settled into her surroundings in Manchester and managed to get a handle on the physicality of the English league Is. She also admits that she has never been as fit in her life as she is now, which has helped her adapt. The 23-year-old was also keen to highlight how welcoming the team and coaching staff have been, helping everyone feel comfortable in their new surroundings, even among the seven new signings ahead of the 2022-23 season One.

Speaking ahead of the Manchester derby – local clashes have become more and more of a highlight in the WSL calendar as Man United sit above City in the league, with 21 points from eight games to City’s 18 – Dena spoke of a healthy environment in groups. Even though he spends most of his time in “Spanish… Vicky [Losada], Laia [Aleixandri], Leela [Ouahabi]” With all Alex Greenwood, Ellie Roebuck And alana kennedy – whom she cites as one of the biggest jokers on the team – “everybody” has her last word on the subject, affecting the camaraderie in the group.

In fact, this togetherness could play a vital role when the team take on United at the Etihad on Sunday. United come into the match on the back of three strong performances in the league, including a heartfelt win at Old Trafford last weekend.

Although Sunday will be just the third time the Citizens will play at the Etihad away from the men’s stadium since they began their 2019-20 campaign with a win over their local rivals, there is much excitement about the return. 53,000-seat cauldron. As Dayna says, “You always take pride in seeing what color the city is going to be,” and even though players have friends on the other team, being able to say, “That city is going to be blue.” Is good.”

As for the striker, the road to success for City will depend on the way he plays. “I think we just have to follow our philosophy and keep playing the game we play and be confident, and try not to make mistakes. It’s going to be important to take advantage of the opportunities that come our way.” , ” he told ESPN. “But at the same time, I think it’s just down to our personalities and our own styles and if we do it well, we can win games.”

Three years ago, the derby was decided by a world-class strike from Caroline Weir, who left the club in the summer. (The Scotland international now plays for Real Madrid.) Although Deyana is yet to open his league account for City – he scored an 89th-minute penalty against Tomiris-Turan in the Champions League – the 23-year-old – There are more than a few thunderous strikes in Olde’s arsenal. The last of which came for her country last month, when she beat Scotland’s Jenna Fife from 45 yards out. With United conceding just five goals so far this season (split between Arsenal and Chelsea), the Citizens may be in need of a similar moment of magic. This could be Diana’s chance to shine.

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