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Womens Premiership

BASSETT: "WE'RE STICKING TOGETHER AS A TEAM"

20 Jul 2021
football

Linfield Ladies striker Rebecca Bassett has sent a defiant message following a run of games which has seen the side lose seven of their last eight league games.

The Blues - who won four successive league titles between 2016 and 2019 - finished last season as runners-up but a series of player exits in recent years has left them with a young squad.

The club have fielded ten teenagers this season and are down to the bare bones of their squad, with star midfielder Rebecca McKenna joining English Champions side Lewes this month while defender Naomi Donnan has joined Sion Swifts.

However, striker Bassett said: “Our message is that we are sticking together as a team - we win together, draw together or lose together.

“We will move forward as a team and we will stick together, on and off the pitch.

“I don’t know how long the transition period will take, maybe one or two years but we are sticking together and growing together - we know things will improve.

“We are hopeful that in the next season or two we will be back winning trophies.”
Bassett - aged 22 - is one of the more experienced players in the Blues ranks and she admits that the leadership required is a big responsibility on and off the pitch but she enjoys the challenge.

She continued: “This season most of our team are our Under-17s and Under-19s - we are the youngest team in the league.

“We have been working really hard in training with the kids and we have been trying to make the most out of our training sessions.

“These kids deserve so much credit because they have really stepped up and it’s not easy for them, and the results don’t reflect our performances - we have been unlucky.

“Phil Lewis has been great and he has always been positive and instils that mindset on us - the training sessions focus on our weaknesses and working on them but he always makes sure we are focusing on the right things and in the right mindset.

“None of us are used to losing and it’s not a nice feeling at all, but Phil and his coaching staff have been great.

football
© David Cavan

“It’s a big responsibility for me and Vicky (Carleton) and Kelsie (Burrows) - we have all had to step and be leaders in the team.

“When it gets tough on the pitch that is when the good players show up, but it is a big learning curve for all of us.

“We are all in our early 20s but for the team we are experienced and talking some players through games is something we have had to do.”

The striker was capped across various youth age groups for Northern Ireland and has developed into one of the most prolific strikers in the Danske Bank Women’s Premiership.

Bassett admits that whilst a call-up to the Northern Ireland senior international squad would be a significant moment, she is currently focused solely on transforming her club’s fortunes.

The striker added: “I played at youth level across multiple age groups and that really helped my development in those years.

“I would obviously love the chance to be part of the senior international setup but right now my focus is on Linfield and helping the team.

“Last season I wasn’t overly happy with my scoring record but the goals have started to come this season and that is something that I’m obviously looking to continue.

“As a striker you always want to score as many as possible but especially when results are struggling.”