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Women's Football News
Gilly Flaherty is looking forward to what she hopes will be a major step in her career after being unveiled as a new signing for Chelsea, along with Katie Chapman.
The 22-year-old defender, who has won several honours with Arsenal since breaking into their side as a teenager, admitted to Women's Soccer Scene that she has mixed emotions over the move - excitement as well as sadness at leaving the Gunners.
"I'm really excited, it's a new start and a new challenge," said Gilly. "I will be playing full time now as a professional, so that was a big reason for me making the move.
"It is something you dream of as a little girl and shows how far the women's game has gone in a short space of time - in the past I have been going out to work at eight in the morning and not coming home until nine at night so it is a big difference!
"The decision to leave Arsenal wasn't an easy one and I admit that there were times when tears were shed. But my gut feeling was that it was the right decision to make."
As well as the two Arsenal players, Chelsea have also snapped up the signatures of Laura Bassett and Rachel Williams and Gilly is relishing the chance to link up with them along with manager Emma Hayes, who she knows well.
"Emma was around when I got into the first team [at Arsenal]," she recalled. "To hook up with her again is one of the main reasons why I joined.
"The club has made some great signings during the transfer window and it will only make the team stronger. Hopefully Katie [Chapman] and I can help install a winning mentality into the team.
"Katie is probably the best central midfielder in the league and it will be helpful for me to see a friendly face as I settle in here at Chelsea.
"I played against Yuki Ogimi when she was at Frankfurt, before she moved to Chelsea, so it will be nice to play with her rather than against her. With the players already here at the club, they should never have finished where they did last season - both games with Chelsea were tough ones when I was with Arsenal and we only won by the odd goal on each occasion.
"Credit must go to Emma Hayes and the vision she has for the club, hopefully we can build as a team quickly."
Next week, Gilly meets up with the senior England squad for the first time and could be in line for a long overdue first full cap. "It's the best start to 2014 that I can imagine," she smiled. "It is going to be a big month for me but as long as I train hard and play as I can play, it can only help me with Chelsea and hopefully England as well."
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