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Shelley's praise for "incredible" Kelly
 Women's Football News 2 Jun 2014
 
Shelley's praise for Shelley Kerr lauded striker Kelly Smith after their 2-0 victory in the F.A.Women's Cup Final against Everton. 
 
"She's just incredible," said the outgoing Arsenal manager. "She will hate me for saying this but she's 35 years old, and I don't think you guys in England will ever see a player like her, she's so talented.
 
"Every time she takes a free kick I'm almost writing on my notepad that it's a goal because that's the quality that she has. Saying that, I thought we had some fantastic performances but Kelly's been outstanding. She's a fantastic leader, she's not the most vocal person but she leads by example on and off the pitch."
 
On the team's performance overall, Shelley insisted that is was a display that was waiting to happen. "I've seen it coming all year since the new players came in," she said. "They've trained like that every single day I've worked with them and I think in most of the games this season we saw evidence of it. It's just unfortunate that up until today we haven't been consistent with our form in terms of playing for the 90 minutes.
 
"But we dominated today, I thought we had some brilliant individual performances but certainly a fantastic team performance as well. They thoroughly deserved to win today and I'm really, really proud of them."
 
So what does Shelley have planned now? "I'm going to go home, walk my dog and have a holiday because when you're involved in football at professional level you work around the clock," she replied. "For many years now I've relied on a network of friends and family who have helped bring up my daughter as well so I'm going to be a mum for a couple of weeks and I'm going to chill, reflect and evaluate.
 
"It's all I've known since I've been five years old, first as a player and then as a coach. I've worked at all levels, so I'll be back involved hopefully in some shape or form. Jobs in football are quite hard to find but I've got a lot of thinking to do as well about my own situation. I'll reflect and take that time out, it will be good to spend some time with my family and friends because they're the ones that suffer all time when you work round the clock. I'm going to take a well earned holiday."
 
As for the future of Arsenal, Shelley remains very confident that their fortunes will turn around very quickly. "Arsenal are a fantastic club and they gave me an opportunity to work with such a fantastic group of players who are so talented and have experience. But also I had an opportunity to work with some of the most talented young players in the country and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this group will be fantastic.
 
"I think Jade [Bailey] came on in the final last year and Leah Williamson came on this time. You have to manage them in the right way but don't forget that half of our team are 21 and under which is brilliant. We've missed Jordan Nobbs who is another young player so the future is definitely bright, that's for sure.
 
"It was never about me. I've always been a team player, I was never the most talented but I was hard working and that's what I do as a coach. For me it's all about the players, they thoroughly deserve this and it's one they were really desperate to win and they were the same last year."
 
Everton manager Andy Spence was generous in defeat and admitted the better side had won on the day. "I told [the players] I was really proud of them," he said. "I was proud of the fact that first of all we got to an FA Cup Final and then that we competed well. But I have to be honest and say that Arsenal fully deserved it.
 
"That happens but I know these players and they will have learnt a lot from this experience. It will only spur them on again and if and when we get to another cup final, we have to take this and ensure that we come away with the winner's medal around our necks.
 
"Kelly Smith has got world class ability and she's been doing that sort of thing for ten or fifteen years, it was a wonderful strike. I think it gave Arsenal a lift and they went on from there, they were the better team for the rest of the game and sometimes you've got to hold your hands up and say congratulations to Arsenal."

 
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