Could Wales’ best and most capped player be on her way to the FA WSL? With Reading FC Women no-less?
A unique situation is currently occurring with the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in America after the Challenge Cup tournament, a one-off competition lasting a month was completed at the end of July.
That competition, played solely in Utah, was an attempt at meaningful women’s football this season in the US after the regular season was cancelled after the outbreak of Covid-19 – the NWSL season usually runs from April to October.
That means there are a number of players in the US who may not play any meaningful football until 2021, and a neat overlap with the European seasons – about to get started, the FA WSL kicks off on Saturday 5th September – has created an opportunity for a number of temporary moves.
One of those moves has become more permanent as American World Cup winner Sam Mewis joined Manchester City, while Wales captain Fishlock is widely reported as expected to seal a loan move to an FA WSL side (source: BBC Sport) – her American side OL Reign in Washington, were knocked out of the Challenge Cup in the Quarter Finals.
Is Reading the destination?
Several outlets though are suggesting midfielder Fishlock’s destination could well be the Royal County. Writing for ourgamemag.com, Richard Laverty said: “Sources suggest Welsh international Fishlock is set to play in the league for the first time in eight years on a short-term deal with Reading.”
In a lot of ways it’s a move that makes sense, for Reading and Wales boss Jayne Ludlow. The Royals have three senior Welsh internationals in their squad in captain Natasha Harding, Angharad James and Rachel Rowe as well as a fourth in youngster Lily Woodham.
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The Royals women have a wealth of experience including England’s most capped player, Fara Williams as well as recent signings from Arsenal, Danielle Carter and Emma Mitchell.
The club have also consistently been competitive in the league in the last two seasons and are unarguably the fifth-best women’s club side in the country after consecutive fifth-placed finishes
Why the need for a short term move?
Talking to the BBC about the reasons for needing a move which includes earning a place in the Welsh squad for upcoming Euro 2021 qualifiers, Fishlock said: “For me especially, with the qualifiers that we have, I have to play right now, so I am home and I am looking for a short-term loan.
“I have to play, I haven’t played in 13 months and we have qualifiers in six weeks.
“If I don’t play now I can’t play in those qualifiers and then by the time we come back in the US I’d have been out for 18 months and I don’t know who comes back from that.”