Arsenal captain Little discusses life in lockdown
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Arsenal Women’s captain Kim Little has been speaking about her role during the recent lockdown.
Speaking to Arsenal.com, the Scottish international said: “With the way our team works in general, it isn’t that much about just me checking in on each individual player.
“I am captain, but as a group we’re all very supportive of each other, from the players to the staff, so we’ve all been as aware as possible that it’s a time where people may be vulnerable and struggle in different ways because they’re away from home or on their own.
“They may also have family members who are working on the frontline, so we’ve all been very mindful of that and tried to support each other in any way possible through messaging, calls and little actions.”
The 2019/20 Women’s Super League season was brought to an early conclusion due to the health crisis, with Little in consultation with the FA about the safest route to take.
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“There were a number of different discussions over the past few weeks through the club and the FA, and there were also captains meetings with the PFA and FA to talk about it all,” she added.
“So I was involved in some discussions and there were obviously no decisions made at the time, but there was a feeling amongst us about what the outcome would be.
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“Then obviously it was confirmed in the end, there wasn’t really the opportunity to go on with the season where there was that safety and knowing in place to make sure that everyone was all okay, not just the players, but staff and family too.
“Because it was near the end, I think the best decision was made to cut ties with that and to move on and focus on what next season we could be, and I’m sure we’ll make it as big and exciting as we possibly can.”
Little then went on to add how lockdown is only making the team stronger than ever before, adding: “There have been highs and lows for all involved, as they strive to maintain full fitness from home, but through constant communication and supporting one another, they’re in good shape and already looking ahead to 2020/21.
“There’s nothing we can even compare it to, so it’s certainly been interesting and challenging at times, but I think it also just emphasises how adaptable we all are when circumstances change.
“This is the biggest change any of us have ever seen from being in the middle of the season to it abruptly stopping, and then being restricted in so many ways by what you can and can’t do is really difficult too, but I think it’s really highlighted what a great group of girls and staff we’ve got here because of the way we’ve adapted and supported each other.”
Little scored five goals for the club throughout the 2019/20 season, including the opener in the 2-0 North London derby win at Tottenham in November.
“Throughout lockdown we’ve been provided with the right flexibility and the right environment to help us keep training and keep our minds focused just in case the season did start again. We’ve all found it difficult at times, but we’ve adapted and tried to make the most of the situation,” she said.
“That’s probably been the biggest difficulty for all players throughout lockdown, having that feeling of the unknown, but also kind of knowing in the back of your head what’s going to happen.
“But despite those thoughts in the back of your head, you know you need to keep training to stay fit so that if you’re asked to come back, you’re at the right level to play games and perform at your best. But as the weeks went on, it increasingly seemed like what has happened now was going to happen, but we didn’t have any clarity on it, so it becomes a real challenge to motivate yourself every day and maintain your focus.
“For me, it’s been a little bit different because I’ve been rehabbing and that’s given me something to focus on, so my mind wasn’t really on playing games, it was on making sure I’m fit and ready to go again, whenever that may be. I guess it’s allowed me to deal with lockdown in a fairly positive away.”