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Karen Carney has backed Birmingham City's policy of producing youth players as they get ready for another season in the FA WSL.
After finishing as runners-up in the first two seasons, they ended up fourth last time around and despite, losing some high profile players during the winter, their star player is very optimistic for the coming months ahead.
"We went through a transition last year," she admitted. "We lost a few players to injury and some to opposing teams but that's football and hopefully we'll come out stronger for it.
"We've invested heavily in our youth players and I am 100% confident that they will produce. We saw a glimpse of that last season, so we'll be okay in terms of what we want to achieve. We'll just take each game as it comes and be realistic in that respect - I don't think you can predict what you want to do as the league is so tight and everyone is on the same level at the moment.
"Last year we could afford to throw our youngsters in and see how they could cope and they showed the rest of the league that they were very capable of doing so. They swam and didn't drown, and I know that in a couple of years time, or maybe even before that, they will be key players and I think that the likes of Kirsty [Linnett] Mel [Lawley] Hannah [George] and Aoife [Mannion] will be international players and hopefully the sooner the better."
Karen was speaking at the club's launch of their new kit and it has met with her approval. "Sondico have produced a really good kit and we have got our sponsors again in Hollywood Monster, who have been with us since the start of the WSL," she said. "It's a really nice kit and blue, which is my favourite colour, so it's pleasing."
Before the new league season begins, Birmingham will take on Arsenal in the quarter finals of the UEFA Women's Champions League with the first leg at St Andrews next month. "We're all very excited and training very hard, preparing the best we can for both the Champions League and the league and other cup competitions as well," said Karen. "Things are going well and it's going to be exciting coming back to St Andrews for a second time, for which we are very grateful to be playing on such a fantastic pitch, so it should be really good.
"Arsenal are a great team and it'll be a great contest, hopefully a lot of Blues fans will come and support us and be the 12th man or woman and just enjoy the occasion, as we will."
The match will also be a great occasion for Karen, a diehard Birmingham City fan, but she will be hoping to be much calmer this time around. "I'm going to try and not focus on that as much as the last game as I was nearly crying before the start," she laughed. "It's a big game but I'm not going to treat it any differently and get fazed by the occasion - but there are still places up for selection and I don't know yet if I am going to be playing. But whoever does play on the day, if they wear their kit with pride and do their best, that's all we can ask."
Such has been the player movement since the end of last season, the Blues will be taking on a revamped Arsenal side who will be fielding a much changed team. "You might as well play a foreign team and know more about them right now," quipped Karen. "I think Arsenal will always play the same style of football, it very rarely changes - the personnel has but that usually fits the way that they play.
"We can guess what they will be like but obviously player wise, it is going to be new. How quickly they will gel, I guess we'll find out."
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