Summer signing Wilkinson 'demands standards' from Saints squad

Katie Wilkinson signed for Saints in the summer (Picture: Southampton FC)
Katie Wilkinson signed for Saints in the summer (Picture: Southampton FC)

BOSS Marieanne Spacey-Cale revealed how experienced summer signing Katie Wilkinson “demands standards” in the Saints Women squad – and would not get hung up on her not yet finding the net.

The striker arrived at St Mary’s from Coventry United Women back in July – Saints’ opponents away from home in the Continental Cup on Sunday (3pm).

Wilkinson won both the Championship player of the season accolade and Golden Boot for two consecutive seasons while at Sheffield United.

Asked about the striker ahead of the cup contest, Spacey-Cale said: “She is a great character, a good personality. She demands standards, she demands the best of herself and the best of people around her.

“Predominantly, that’s one of the reasons we brought her in.

“She is a goalscorer. We talk about players that score goals but then we sometimes lose the attributes away from that.

“Although she hasn’t hit the mark yet this season, her all-round team play has been fantastic and has brought a different element to us that we needed.

“I think it’s important that we don’t get too hung up on the fact she hasn’t scored a goal yet.

“The most important thing is the work ethic she is putting in in training, the standards she is driving and her all-round combination play and bringing players into the game is outstanding.”

Wilkinson played a key role in Coventry’s great escape from relegation in the second tier last season.

“Certainly, the word experience is key because she has played in the Championship for a long time. She understands it,” said former England star Spacey-Cale.

“The experience of last season with Coventry, she would probably say it’s one of the best experiences she’s had, even though it was such a hard season.

“The fact they pulled out the unbelievable at the end of the season – she just spoke about the team ethic, staying together, grouping together and shutting out the noise of what was going on outside and concentrating on what they can do.

“For us that’s very similar to what we want – is to just concentrate on what we can do, close down some of the noise on the outside of expectations.

“We have got to grow up within our own group, then enjoy the noise of our supporters every week when they come to the games.”