Football in Bracknell
Opinion Women's Football

Is Mandy Van Den Berg a positive sign(ing) of things to come for Reading FC Women?

As you’ll have seen on social media and on this very fine website, Reading FC Women have made their first signing of the transfer window by bringing classy Dutch captain Mandy van den Berg to the club.

Coincidentally this is the second van den Berg to join the Royals’ family in the past few months with Joey doing well for the men’s team having been signed by another Dutch master, Jaap Stam!

With Brian Tevreden as the Royals’ current director of football there’s a chance we may see more Dutch class within the football club as a whole in the coming months! No bad thing!

Top quality

Mandy Van Den Berg is unveiled by Reading FC Women.

Mandy Van Den Berg (left) is unveiled by Reading FC Women.

Mandy is a top quality centre back who has been with Liverpool over the past season, making 13 appearances for the club after signing in January. She has also represented her country on 75 occassions including captaining them to a last 16 spot in the last World Cup. Not bad considering she’s only 26 so very much in her prime!

But do we really need another centre back? ‘YES!!’ is the short answer!!

Not least because arguably our top centre back, Kylie McCarthy, announced recently that she was expecting a new arrival so will not be featuring next season!

Short at the back

Captain Kirsty McGee has has a solid season and England under 23 international Molly Bartrip has shown promising signs of developing into a top class defender but after that we have looked a little short in recent weeks.

Reading FC Woman defender Molly Bartrip. Photo: Neil Graham.

Reading FC Woman defender Molly Bartrip. Photo: Neil Graham.

We’ve also struggled a bit from set pieces over the past season at times so an international captain adding her skills and experience into the mix can only be a good thing.

Generally speaking I think our most recent signings have really given a good indication that the club is going in the right direction. Whereas our first new signings as we joined WSL1 were either:

Kayleigh Hines takes the Player of the Match award. Photo: Neil Graham.

Kayleigh Hines takes the Player of the Match award. Photo: Neil Graham.

  • Players that were still on the path to developing into top flight players, such as Amber Stobbs and Kayleigh Hines

OR

  • Players that had some limited experience of WSL1 but been relegated, such as Jade Boho-Sayo and Mary Earps

In recent months we’ve started to attract successful and experienced top flight players – Remi Allen and now Mandy Van Den Berg!

Attracting experience

I’m taking that as a positive sign that this signing will be the first of 3 or 4 that we will see before the new season starts. Hopefully next up will be that elusive top quality goalscoring lone striker that will really help us (literally) going forwards!

Great start to the transfer window – let’s see what happens next…

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