Arsenal’s Australian defender Steph Catley inspired by club, players, fans & Beckham!

Arsenal’s Australian defender Steph Catley inspired by club, players, fans & Beckham! by Michelle

There are numerous factors that must have ensured Arsenal women left Germany with a point, and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that Steph Catley’s return to Arsenal’s starting lineup was one of them. The Matildas stalwart fullback has been out with an injury since the Continental Cup victory and was unavailable to coach Jonas Eidevall in six games prior to the Manchester United game last week She made her comeback last week as a second-half substitute against Manchester United before making her first start, since returning from injury, this weekend in the Champions League Semi-Final against Wolfsburg.

Catley returned with a bang, orchestrating Arsenal’s comeback from a two-goal deficit. Her perfect corner to the back post resulted in Brazilian Rafaelle Souza heading home Arsenal’s first goal on the stroke of halftime, and Stina Blackstenius scored Arsenal’s second goal in the second half to ensure the game ended 2-2. Catley’s return is undoubtedly a significant boost for Eidevall’s effort to get something out of this season, which has been hampered by injuries.

What motivates Catley to be the best and continuously perform for the club? In an interview with Arsenal, other than naming David Beckham and the full-back version of Gareth Bale, inspiring her, the 29-year-old also admitted the love at Arsenal was her inspiration, saying, “I had a feeling I knew what I was going into when I first signed, but I really didn’t. There’s a passion over here in England and at a club like Arsenal that you just don’t really get at home in Australia. There’s such a deep love for their clubs, and the fans are so invested.

“Now I have that love for the club, and that’s mostly down to the people and the players. It feels like a family, and I absolutely love it. I feel supported every day to get better and work harder. Some of my best friends are here, and I love the football we play and what the club is about. Over the last three years, the love I knew existed before has grown so much since I’ve been here.”

I bet all the young footballers who look up to Steph would also look at Arsenal and say, “That’s the place to be.”

Arsenal, despite a big player injury list, won the Conti Cup in March and are still in the top 4 teams vying for the WSL title. Also, this season, Arsenal have gone further in the Women’s Champions League than they have done in the last ten years, reaching the semi-finals. Having drawn 2-2 away at Wolfsburg last weekend, the UWCL semi-final return leg is on 1st May at Emirates Stadium, kick-off 17:45 UK, with a record-breaking 50,000 tickets sold already. Tickets are still available to purchase here.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is being staged Australia & New Zealand this summer and Catley, alongside her Arsenal teammate Caitlin Foord, will play a major part in the Australian Women’s National Team – the Matildas.


Michelle Maxwell

Follow Michelle on Just Gooner Women on Twitter for regular updates on the Arsenal Womens Team!

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