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Women's Football News
Sheffield United are delighted to confirm former England international Sophie Bradley-Auckland has been named as their new club captain ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.
The vastly experienced 31-year-old joined the club this summer from Liverpool and has played at the very top level for both club and country and will take the armband when the team returns to the pitch on Sunday at Blackburn Rovers for their first league match of the season.
Forward Courtney Sweetman-Kirk will take up the role of vice captain for the new season, the 30-year-old becoming a constant in the starting eleven after joining last season, ending her debut campaign as a Blade with eight goals.
With both players experienced at the top level and Bradley-Auckland having represented her country at a World Cup and Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics, head coach Neil Redfearn never had any doubts over the defender's attributes to lead the team this season.
"I know Bradders as a person, I know what type of person she is and the type of leader she is," he said. "She's an inspirational player and she's got good values. She wants to win, the first thing she asked before joining was 'are we going to win games?' That's what she wants to do and it's the perfect choice really.
"She's been an international footballer, an Olympian, and for our young players she's the perfect role model. I always had her in mind right from the off, she has a love for the game, she wants to win, she'll drive her team mates on.
"I think Courtz is relishing it too and it's really well deserved. She comes across well, she speaks sense and she's another good role model for the younger players. It's important to have these characters in and around your team and we've got a few of them, it just makes the dressing room a lot easier to work with.
"It's a really good atmosphere at the moment. It's a smaller squad, everyone's got a clear sight of the first team and it's a good place right now.
Bradley-Auckland said: "It's an absolute honour and something I won't take lightly and I'll do everything I can to put the team before me as I usually do anyway.
"To be honest, I was pretty taken aback when I was asked! I just felt very privileged to be able to join the team and play football again, let alone lead out such a fantastic team full of great people and great players and such great backing from the club as well."
Vice-captain Sweetman-Kirk is also delighted to help lead the team ahead of the new campaign: "I've always tried to be that through my career, I've always been quite vocal. We've got a lot of experience in this squad but also a lot of young players too and I think it's important that those experienced players take all that on a little bit and make sure we've got the right balance.
"We complement each other well I think and we're both vocal but also lead by example. You look at Bradders and the condition she's come back in after having a baby and being injured, she's one of the ultimate professionals."
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