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US star Morgan makes her bow as struggling Spurs earn a point

The WSL finally got its first glimpse of the American international as Juan Amoros’s side came from behind against Reading

12 November, 2020 — By Catherine Etoe

Alex Morgan comes on to make her Spurs debut against Reading. PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

ALL eyes were on Alex Morgan as the biggest signing in Spurs’ history finally got her season up and running on Saturday.

Thrown into the fray against Reading at The Hive in Barnet – and watched by her replica kit-clad baby daughter – it was the two-time World Cup winner’s first competitive foray in more than a year.

Renowned for her killer instinct in front of goal, the prolific USA international did not get enough service or space to deliver a dream winner on her Tottenham debut.

But she at least added bursts of gazelle-like pace and a couple of neat flicks to the scrappy final 22 minutes of a match that ended in a 1-1 draw.

“She’s done well, she tried to do what we asked her, tried to be the outlet going forward,” Spurs’ joint head coach Juan Amoros said afterwards.

“The main thing is that she’s finally back and we all can enjoy her back on a football pitch.”

Spurs fans will hope to see Morgan get even more minutes under her belt this Saturday when the north Londoners travel to fellow basement side Bristol City.

Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema with her award

Against Reading, defender Ashleigh Neville rose to head home a crucial equaliser, but with just two points in six FA Women’s Super League outings, a clinical goalscorer of Morgan’s calibre could help carve out the big win they so sorely need.

Right now, though, Amoros told me he does not mind who rises to the challenge on that front.

“We just need someone to grab the games by the neck and say ‘here I am, here are goals’,” he said.

“At the moment the goals seem to be coming from set-pieces and it’s defenders making it happen, but as long as it goes in the back of the net we’re happy.”

Morgan’s contribution in the weeks since the 31-year-old joined Spurs on a season-long loan from Orlando Pride is also a source of joy for Amoros.

“I want to have her in my team for ever,” he said. “Hopefully she stays with us for a very, very long time because she’s one of the best professionals and best people I’ve ever coached. She’s been a fantastic addition to the club, not only to the women’s team but to the whole club.”

FIRST DEFEAT

The first Arsenal match I ever covered for the New Journal, 21 years ago, featured a 17-year-old defender who the then manager Vic Akers described as having a “very good future in the game”.

That player was Casey Stoney, the current head coach of high-flying Manchester United who dealt a body blow to her old club on Sunday.

Unbeaten in the WSL before their trip to Leigh, Arsenal returned having suffered a first defeat of the season thanks to a late Ella Toone goal.

“She outsmarted us,” Gunners boss Joe Montemurro said of Stoney after the 1-0 loss. “They were the better team and deserved to win.”

Arsenal next face Emma Hayes’ Chelsea in a match to be broadcast live on BT Sport on Sunday, and Montemurro said he hoped for a better performance in the 2.30pm kick-off.

“We know the importance of the game,” he said. “We definitely won’t go into this game not giving it all.”

BRIGHT SIDE

It was not all doom and gloom for Arsenal this week. Striker Vivianne Miedema, who scored all four goals against London City Lionesses in the Continental Cup last week and currently has 10 league goals to her name this term, was crowned Barclays FAWSL player of the month for October.

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