Manchester City forward Chloe Kelly says she is excited to realise a childhood dream and play in a Women’s FA Cup final against her former club Everton.
England international Kelly admits it is “unbelievable” how she will come up against her ex-Blues team-mates, with whom she began the 2019/20 campaign, at Wembley on Sunday.
Kelly, who joined City from Everton on a two-year contract in July, also faced another of her former sides Arsenal in the semi-finals of the competition, which was disrupted in March by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Playing at Wembley is a dream come true,” Kelly told Sky Sports News. “An FA Cup final against my former team is great.”
Kelly was an unused substitute for Arsenal in their FA Cup final win against Chelsea in 2016 and the 22-year-old is “raring to go” as City bid to successfully defend their title.
“It’s unbelievable to play against Everton and I actually started the FA Cup campaign, the same campaign with them,” Kelly added.
“I remember sitting in a meeting and the first meeting was, ‘We’re going to get to Wembley’, and I’m delighted that they have done.
“Now I’m at Manchester City and the focus is on them. I’ve learnt a lot since being at Man City, I feel like I’ve matured a little bit more in my performances.
“I have a lot of respect for the Everton players and the Everton staff and the club as a whole so it’s a great occasion to play against my old team but in an FA Cup it makes it even more special.”
Kelly, who grew up nearby to Wembley in Ealing, made her City debut under Gareth Taylor in the Community Shield defeat against Chelsea in August at the national stadium.
City have lost to Chelsea and drawn at Reading in their last two matches and Kelly believes the prospect of a showpiece final will inspire the squad to produce their best.
“The performances have been good, and I feel like it is not going to knock our confidence at all,” Kelly said. “I feel like going into the game we are confident after an international break.
“I feel like it adds a little more desire going into the game that we need to get the result on the back of the two [past results].”
Kelly is confident the club are well prepared to win their third FA Cup, with United States World Cup-winning pair Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle also aiming to lift their first title in English football.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to be playing with World Cup winners,” she said. “I feel like they’ve been there, they’ve done it, they’ve got a World Cup medal under their belt.
“So, it’s great to have them in the team.
“They’re true leaders and I feel like even in small-sided games in training Sam’s always counting the score so if you’re on the losing team you’re like ‘Shut up Sam!’.
“But if you’re on the winning team you’re like, ‘Ok, we’re winning now…’ so it just shows the winning mentality of Sam but they’re both class players and we’ve got a great team, so going into the final I’m really confident.”
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