Arsenal’s Lia Walti talks about the pivotal new Number 6 role in Womens football

Arsenal Womens Lia Walti 100th club appearance ‘I don’t have fun playing football by Michelle

Lia Walti made her 100th appearance for Arsenal in Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Ajax in the UEFA WCL.  An experienced midfielder with quality in abundance, Lia is a natural leader both on and off the pitch, who joined Arsenal in July 2018.

Lia spoke with the press after the 2 – 2 Ajax draw. She talked openly about Arsenal´s performance against Ajax, with a similar play analysis as the match review we previously published here, and Eidevall´s post match analysis.

More interestingly, in my opinion, was Lia´s openness about her number 6 position and how she really struggled to cope with the change in play that was required of her through last season and how much it actually stretched her personally, stripping her of the enjoyment of playing football.  But as Lia says below, she is thankfully in a much better place now and has her verve and vigour back in abundance, which we are very happy to hear!

As interestingly, she talks in detail about her number 6 position and the importance of that position in the current women´s game, citing Manchester City´s Keira Walsh as playing a key pivotal role and with the loss of Keira just how Manchester City may struggle in the WSL this year.  That will certainly be an interesting one to keep an eye on, especially with Manchester City´s recent defeat by Aston Villa.

Lia on the transition from playing as a pure six to playing a more advanced, pressing role in left central midfield…

As I said last year, I think it just took a bit of time for me because it was a big change in my game. I think I adapted to it towards the end of last season a bit better. I think right now, I’m feeling really confident and comfortable in my position but we could both adapt our ideas a little bit and I think right now it fits perfectly to the game.

Now, I’m back to enjoying my game and I think at the start of last season, I struggled with that because when you feel like you’re not… when it’s not getting better week by week, then you feel… it wasn’t a burn out but it was kind of like, ‘I don’t have fun playing football’. I think I have that feeling back now.

On the number six position being more appreciated in women’s football now…

100%. I think Keira (Walsh) said it well, it’s not only a win for women’s football that you have bigger and bigger, especially for our position, I think we’re usually not as appreciated maybe as strikers or goal-scorers and I do think Keira Walsh did an amazing job for Man City for many, many years and for the English team. I’m really proud to see that someone of our position could be that person to be the new record transfer.

It’s cool to see and it’s also nice to see that it’s a bit of a rotation in the clubs with that number because I think it makes it all a bit interesting and changes also the style of the [teams]. For example, Man City is not going to play the same anymore without Keira, so I think it’s going to make the whole league a bit more interesting.

So what are your thoughts on the importance of the number 6 position?  Lia´s certainly confident that her more advanced, pressing role will give Arsenal an advantage and fits perfectly to Arsenal´s game.  We´ll certainly be watching to see just how pivotal Lia and that number 6 position proves to be over the coming WSL season.  Go Lia!

Press interview with Lia Walti

Michelle Maxwell

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

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