Aileen Whelan is confident that Leicester’s strong start this season shows they can compete with the top Women’s Super League teams.
The Foxes have earned seven points in their first four matches, which included a 1-1 draw against Manchester United and a narrow 1-0 loss to Manchester City. Whelan, the team’s captain, believes their preseason optimism is now justified. She stated, “We’re making progress, especially when facing teams that were in the top four last season. We’ve put on solid performances, and the City game was unfortunate due to a goal. But we’re capable of competing. Our initial goal for the first six games is on track.”
“Our strategies are progressing smoothly, and as a result, our performances are being handled effectively.”
Leicester’s recent victories over Bristol City and Everton in the WSL show their improved performance this season, allowing them to avoid relegation. This success is attributed to their manager, Willie Kirk, who took charge in November last year and has been instrumental in motivating the team to achieve greater success.
She mentioned, “We’ve become more professional both on and off the field. Our recruitment has greatly improved, and it’s reflected in our results. Willie’s influence has brought a more aggressive approach to our attacking style. We’re better at winning the ball back and protecting our goal.
Before the season started, the staff and players had a discussion about our goals and how we plan to achieve them. It’s all about trusting the process.”
During the summer recruitment, the Foxes put together a team that mixed both youth and experience. Players like 35-year-old Janice Cayman were now alongside 23-year-olds Aimee Palmer and Jutta Rantala.
At 32, Whelan is one of the older players and takes on a leadership role. She’s responsible for guiding new signings and young talents in their development.
Whelan stated, “Helping others is just a part of who I am. Being the captain fits me well. Everyone, whether young or experienced, needs support, and we’re here to support each other through it.”
The midfielder thinks that 16-year-old striker Denny Draper is a promising talent. She said, “Denny is progressing well and seems to have a natural talent for scoring goals. With a few years of WSL experience, she will certainly become a player to watch.”
Only three points separate the top and seventh teams in the WSL table after four rounds of matches, and Leicester is in fifth place among them.
As they prepare to face Liverpool on Sunday, Whelan is confident that the league will continue to be full of excitement.
She explained, “What’s most thrilling is the unpredictability. No one team is dominating. It’s still early in the season, but it’s evident that teams can defeat each other and earn points.
Our focus is on delivering another strong performance this weekend, and we trust that the result will follow. We have the ability to score goals and secure victories.”