August 12th, 2018

New captain Whittle ready for season

New captain Whittle ready for season

Zoey Shaw has selected Izzy Whittle to take the armband from long-time skipper Leandra Little, while her deputy will be Olivia Cook.

Both players have experienced life in WSL and are hoping to help impart some of the good habits they have picked up onto the rest of the Belles’ new-look squad.

New skipper Whittle said: “We’re looking to continue the standards set by the first team from last year, in everything from starting training, finishing training, media, what we do off the pitch – we’ve been around them and watched what they do and done it ourselves, and we’ll pass that on.

“We really want to grab it with both hands and really give it a good go.”

Vice-captain Cook added: “It’s a great opportunity for us to take on this kind of leadership role.

“A young squad doesn’t necessarily mean a weak squad, and we have a lot of people who are willing to learn in an elite-level setup. We’ve got something to prove this season.”

Despite winning the WSL2 title last year, circumstances off the pitch mean this will be the Belles’ first season playing in the Women’s National League, and both players confirmed they are raring to go as the club takes on a brand new challenge.

Whittle said: “It’s going to be a tough league, with the likes of Sunderland and Sheffield taking the step down alongside us.

“Then you’ve also got some very capable teams already in there like Blackburn, who won it last year.

“So it’s going to be a challenge, but it’s one we’re all looking forward to. There’s a really positive mentality from top to bottom at the Belles, and a big part of that is that we don’t shy away from a challenge.

“We’ve got a very young squad so it’s going to be a steep learning curve for a lot of them, but that’s how you improve and it’s really positive to see younger players getting a chance to play competitive football.”

The Belles first game of the new season will be against reigning champions Blackburn Rovers, who won the Women’s National League Northern by ten clear points last season, only to lose their playoff against Southern champions Charlton Athletic.

That means the Belles are expecting a stern test against the Lancashire outfit, but Cook said: “It’s better to start with the biggest challenge first and see where you’re at.”

Whittle echoed that sentiment, saying: “It’s a team to compare ourselves to, isn’t it, because they were unlucky not to move up a league last year.”


Our 2018/19 season opener against Blackburn Rovers will be played at Rossington Main on Sunday 19th August, 2pm KO.

Tickets will be £3 for adults and £1 for children and can be purchased on the gate.