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Womens Premiership


01 Sep 2021
Linfield Ladies have endured a difficult season of transition with several players moving on amid a series of stars being ruled out with long-term injuries.
There have been plenty of bright moments amid the difficulties with the team taking points from both Glentoran and Cliftonville - the latter of whom were held to a scoreless draw at Solitude last week.
The Blues have an emerging core of talented young players and they are led by the team captain Mia Fitzsimmons - who is aged just 18.
“I never dreamed of being captain of the club, never mind aged just 18,” Fitzsimmons admitted.
“It’s great on a personal level because it gives you more confidence going into the game because you want to show why you are captain and what you are about.
“We joke in training that me, Rebecca Bassett and Vicky Carleton are now the veterans of the team!
“But we are having to step up and take more responsibility, which is something that we were not expecting but we are enjoying - we know we all have to step up.
“I have always said it does not matter in this team who is captain, because the only reason you are here is to make yourself counted and stand up.”
What the Blues lack in experience, they make up for in talent and fearlessness - last week’s draw at Solitude saw them derail Cliftonville’s title bid and earn a hard-fought clean sheet.
Fitzsimmons added: “People saw us as big underdogs for that game but we knew that we had the performance in us to get that result, or even a victory.
“It was our last away game of the season before a run of home games and we know we have the opportunity now to finish the season on a strong run.
“We are looking at the future for this team - we are not a side who are ready to challenge for the title because we are signing young players with big potentials and developing players.
“The likes of Keri Halliday and Sarah Tweedie have come in and these girls have big futures - Keri scored a hat-trick on her first start at this summer.
“We play the way we train - we play without fear and we are not afraid to make mistakes.
“We learn so much from every match and we will use this experience going forwards.”
Fitzsimmons is now a leader at her club and believes she has what it takes to make the step up to international level and be involved in future Northern Ireland squads.
“There are so many girls who are my age who I played alongside who are regulars in the squad - it is definitely somewhere I want to be,” she explained.
“I know how good they are and how hard they work, and I feel that is something that I can match and emulate - they are a benchmark and motivate me to keep fighting for it.
“I feel that I have a lot to do and improve upon, so I want to be able to push on and to be around the squad - that would help me become a better player and to be involved more.”