We spoke to Aston Villa Ladies midfielder Nadine Hannsen about the Ladies’ loss against West Ham United Women in the SSE Women’s FA Cup Quarter-Final, her experiences as an international player in England, and her play-off allegiances for the men’s team.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)

We spoke to Aston Villa Ladies midfielder Nadine Hannsen about the Ladies’ loss against West Ham United Women in the SSE Women’s FA Cup Quarter-Final, her experiences as an international player in England, and her play-off allegiances for the men’s team.

The Aston Villa Ladies have received plaudits for their strong start to 2019, and could have quite easily beaten full-time, professional side West Ham United Women on Sunday – how strong of a side do you think we have here?

“I think we are a side that is growing every week!

Although we maybe had a slow start to the season, I think we are a very good team, with a good mix between young talent and experience. 

I don’t think the league table reflects where we are as a team yet.”

You have played for the likes of PSV, Genk and Anderlecht in your time as a footballer – what are some of the key differences between women’s football in the Netherlands and Belgium compared to England?

“English football is very pure. 

Sometimes it doesn’t have to look pretty as long as you get the job done, and I really like that side of it.

In Holland and Belgium, they focus a little bit more on the technical parts of the game, whilst in England they look at the physical and tactical more.”

Your first season at Aston Villa Ladies has been nothing short of a success so far. What are your personal goals with the club and do you think they are matched by your team-mates?

“I am very happy at Villa!

Everyone has made me feel so welcome from the first day, and I am just so grateful for that, and it definitely has helped me to perform to the best of my ability. 

I feel like I am learning a lot about the English game, and I can still develop a lot and deliver more for the team.

Our aim for this season is to finish in the top five which I think is realistic. Other than that, it’s a goal for me to be a full time player and I hope that this is going to happen at Villa.”

Has being an international player provided any difficulties to you in your time at the club, or has it been plain sailing since you arrived?

“The language barrier is sometimes a bit difficult as you can’t always express yourself 100% the way you want to. 

But other than that, one-to-one conversations, team meetings and coaching on the pitch are easy things to pick up quickly.

My English has definitely improved and I’ve even got used to the Birmingham accent!”

You jokingly made a comment to your boyfriend, Derby County goalkeeper Kelle Roos when they were knocked out of the FA Cup. If Aston Villa face Derby County in the play-offs this season, is it a case of club, or Kelle?

“That is a cheeky question!

If Kelle is in goal, I will have to support Derby County as it would be a life changing event for him – but if he is not on the pitch of course I would support Aston Villa!

To solve this problem… I think Villa just need to sign him!” (Hanssen laughs).

In your opinion, what is the hardest thing about playing women’s football?

“I am very pleased to see that women’s football is becoming more and more popular.

I started playing football when I was six-years old, at that time it was strange that a girl played football.

Today, football is for everyone and I’m delighted to have seen a record crowd of 68,000 people at the Atletico vs Barcelona game.

I think young girls can have the same dreams as boys today, and that’s a beautiful thing.”

Finally, what can the Ladies do now to push on and really end this season on a high?

“We just have to keep working hard on the training pitch. 

I think we are very blessed with great staff that put a lot of thought into tactics and patterns, and it’s great to see that all these things are finally coming together on the pitch. 

We’re on a beautiful journey together… if you see where we were at the beginning of the season and compare that to now, the improvement and development of this group is huge.

I’m just excited to see what this team of players and staff can achieve.”

 

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