Only a few weeks into the new WSL campaign and Manchester United full-back Hannah Blundell already looks to be one of the signings of the season following her transfer from Chelsea.
The 27-year-old has already featured in 90min’s WSL team of the week three times in the opening five rounds of fixtures, including the last two in a row, and is joint second in WSL assists.
But Blundell’s arrival in Manchester back in July was arguably underplayed. Having lost her starting place at Chelsea in 2019, initially as a result of injury, she was effectively the makeweight in the deal that saw generational talent Lauren James head in the opposite direction.
Losing James is still a major blow – ex-United manager Casey Stoney once referred to the youngster as ‘a talent that I haven’t seen in the women’s game before’ – but when fans might have been hoping for a higher-profile exchange like Bethany England, Blundell has more than been worth it.
Despite not playing regularly for Chelsea for two years, Blundell was immediately a bright spark for United when she made her debut in the opening game of the new WSL season.
She and fan favourite Ona Batlle both have the versatility to play on either side of the back four and have swapped over several times this season already. The pair are similar in that they attack at every opportunity and have the pace to impact games at both ends of the pitch.
Blundell’s surging runs made the difference when United broke down a stubborn Birmingham defence earlier this month and again when they took the lead against Manchester City in the big WSL derby match in the side's most recent outing.
For all her experience as a four-time WSL champion, Blundell has only played three times for England at senior international level. All of those appearances came in 2018 but she has been named in squads on and off since 2015 and most recently in 2019.
Competition for places is fierce, but she could yet play herself back into contention come Euro 2022 next summer if she has as good season with United…and she has made a fantastic start.