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Rachel Corsie: Vivianne Miedema contract news hogs headlines – but my new Aston Villa deal was no-brainer

In this week's column, Rachel explains why it was easy to sign on for another year at Villa and addresses the upcoming Scotland v Israel matches.

Rachel Corsie, right, in action for Aston Villa Women. Image: Shutterstock.
Rachel Corsie, right, in action for Aston Villa Women. Image: Shutterstock.

The news Vivianne Miedema will not be signing a new deal at Arsenal has somewhat overshadowed my own contract extension at Aston Villa this week.

FA Women’s Super League record goalscorer Miedema is only 27, but Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall clearly wants to move forward with a different type of striker.

It seems inevitable Miedema, a title-winner with Arsenal in 2019 – who has 125 goals and 50 assists in 172 Gunners appearances – will now join a rival.

Vivianne Miedema. Image: Shutterstock.

Miedema is a ridiculously good player and a superstar of the women’s game. Though it is commonplace in the men’s game, it’s probably one of the first times we have seen a women’s club be so ruthless in getting rid of such a big name player over tactical differences.

It perhaps also shows how financially-solid some women’s operations are becoming that Arsenal feel able to let a valuable asset like Miedema go at this point in her career.

For myself, signing on for another year at Villa was an easy decision. I’ve known from the start of the season I wanted to stay.

I’ve really enjoyed being back in the WSL for the past two-and-a-half seasons, and I’m quite invested in Villa’s long-term plan for where they want the team to get to.

Villa have moved quite quickly since the women’s team became integrated with the broader club.

When I first signed, we were in a slightly different position.

But this has been the club’s third season in the WSL, and I think we’re now an established mid-table team – we’ll finish seventh in the 12-team top-flight this season – and they’ve got a proper framework and a plan to continue the growth.

We have built a platform from which to push on, and a few of the teams around us in the table, like Spurs above us in sixth, will be trying to do similar things.

I feel quite motivated by that challenge.

I’ve been made to feel part of the football club – I enjoy being around the training ground and going to the men’s games.

In terms of the club’s pitch to me to extend my stay and what they see my role as being, there are some people who probably think, even at 34, I want to be playing and captaining the team in every game.

I suppose there is an element of truth in that, alongside an understanding there will be some matches where I’m not in the starting XI.

My own game-time aside, I think there’s a recognition I have a lot of knowledge to share, on and off the pitch, and I always try to help other players – whether it’s around the place, in training or during matches.

Aston Villa’s Rachel Corsie and Adriana Leo. Image: Shutterstock.

There are a couple of younger players in Villa’s backline, and I try to be a sounding board for them and try to help them get better.

I’ve also developed an understanding of the lifestyle it takes to be a top-level athlete and try to lead by example a little bit – as that knowledge can sometimes be lacking earlier in a player’s career.

I think I’m a voice for the playing squad, and have the relationships linking them with the coaching staff, our manager, Carla Ward, and other people at the club.

FA WSL win over Manchester City would be perfect end to Carla Ward’s tenure

It has been confirmed Carla Ward will be stepping down as Villa boss after three years in charge following this weekend’s season-closer at home to title-chasing Manchester City.

I have a good bond with Carla – and I did sign the new deal thinking she was going to be the manager.

I hope there are other people at the club who recognise my contribution.

The players have no idea at this stage who our next manager will be, as Villa wanted Carla to stay, but with a year left on her deal, she has decided to step down for family reasons.

Carla was responsible for signing every player currently in the Villa squad.

When a manager leaves, you always have players who maybe haven’t played as much who are happy for the fresh start.

But I’d say most of the squad are thankful and grateful to Carla for the work she’s done.

Aston Villa Women manager Carla Ward with Rachel Corsie. Image: Shutterstock.

Last year, when we had a really good season, finishing fifth in the league, we created some really good memories and it was probably one of the best journeys many of us have had in club football.

A victory against City – who we’ve had some good games against – would be the perfect way to end Carla’s tenure this weekend.

City are behind Chelsea at the top of the WSL on goal difference, so could need to win and beat Chelsea’s score by three goals to be crowned champions.

While it’s nice for Villa to have a say in the title race on the final day, we’re honestly not thinking about what it means for City – I just want to win for us.

Scotland v Israel situation is not nice

It is not a nice position for the Scotland Women’s National Team players to be in to have back-to-back European Championship qualifiers against Israel coming up amid the backdrop of the Israel-Gaza War.

We play Israel at home at the end of this month, before we play them “away” in Budapest, Hungary, in early-June.

The conflict itself is so sad, and the games have made me a lot more conscious about learning what has happened and is going on.

As players, we’re having conversations about what we can do to show compassion to those affected by the conflict.

For the home game, ticket restrictions are in place. with protests expected at Hampden.

Preparations are likely to look different, with extra security measures.

It’s undoubtedly a distraction going into two qualifiers which are must-win for us. And we’ll be as diligent and professional as possible to try to get the results we need.

Rachel Corsie in action during the Scotland v Slovakia Euros qualifier at Hampden Park in April. Image: Shutterstock.