Ash Neville: "Coventry helped me become the player I am and who Spurs knew I could transform into"
Fri 14 February 2020, 14:00|Tottenham Hotpsur
Defender Ashleigh Neville will come up against her former team Coventry United when we play the Championship side in the fifth round of the Women’s FA Cup on Monday night (17 February), kick-off is 7.45pm at Butts Park Arena.
During her four years with United, Ashleigh made 69 appearances, scoring 20 goals before moving to N17 in July, 2017, ahead of our first season in tier two.
Impressive displays in her debut campaign at the Club followed, earning her our Player of the Season award, before she played a significant role in our promotion-winning campaign last season.
Ahead of meeting Coventry for the first time in Monday’s Cup action, Ashleigh said: “When the draw was made, it was a bit of a shock in the sense that a few hours before, I had tweeted that we were going to get Coventry and then we did so it was as if I knew it was coming. I think it will be nice to go back there and see a few old faces and see how much they’ve come along since I left.”
The 26-year-old acknowledged the part her former team played in her journey to becoming a fully professional footballer.
“I really enjoyed my time there and they helped me a lot to become the player I am and who Spurs knew I could transform into when they signed me,” Ashleigh continued. “They really played a part in my development and that’s what Karen (Hills) and Juan (Amoros) saw in me to be able to take my game to the next level at the Club and I think now, I am a better player than I even thought I’d be.”
Coventry currently sit ninth in the FA Women’s Championship and have seven points from their last six league matches. They defeated Southampton in a comfortable 4-1 victory at St Mary’s Stadium last month to secure their place in the fifth round.
“I expect it to be a very physical game,” Ashleigh commented. “I know they’re a team who are going to put in strong challenges and they’ll probably set up more defensively than they usually would. We’ve got to be prepared for that and work hard to break them down. We are doing fairly well in the league and we’ve already shown people what we’re about. Now we’ve got a good chance to go on a good run in this competition and I think that’s what we need to push for. To reach the quarter-finals of the Cup for the first time in our history, that’s got to be something that the girls all want and that we need to aim for and then if we can progress from there, even better.”
The right-back knows that there is plenty of work to be done but admits that reaching the final at Wembley would be a dream for all the players.
“I think it’s anyone’s for the taking which makes it such a special competition. Any team is capable of beating anyone on their day and history has taught us that anything can happen. I’m hoping we can get the job done on Monday and get through the rounds because to play at Wembley would be incredible. As a team, we’ve already spoken about the prospect of reaching the final, and it’s something we all want and if we can make it happen then it would be amazing.”