Ayisi ‘learned so much’ from Arsenal legends

Manchester City's Lucy Bronze (left) and Birmingham City's Freda Ayisi battle for the ball during th

Manchester City's Lucy Bronze (left) and Birmingham City's Freda Ayisi battle for the ball during the 2017 SSE Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium - Credit: PA

Freda Ayisi has learnt from some of the best players in the women’s game, such as Arsenal legends Kelly Smith and Rachel Yankey.

Ayisi came through the ranks at Arsenal and went on to play in the senior set-up, scoring on the elite stage in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

Talking about how her Arsenal journey began and how she ended up with the Women’s Super League’s most successful side Ayisi said: “After leaving Charlton, Arsenal were the first team I had a trail for so I just ended signing with them.

“I liked the set-up the club had to offer so I decided to commit my future with them and never looked back.”

The 25-year-has also featured in the Women’s FA Cup final, playing for Birmingham City in the 2017 showpiece against Manchester City at Wembley Stadium.

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As for her Arsenal adventure, when Ayisi was asked what she most enjoyed about the club, her answer was simple: “The football”.

When reflecting on her memories at the club she said the highlight of her Gunners career was scoring in the Champions League over Russian side CSHVSM Kairat in a 7-1 victory.

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“Scoring my first senior goal in the Champions League was the highlight at Arsenal for me, it is a moment that I’ll never forget throughout my career,” she added.

As a young player Ayisi was breaking through at the right time and, as a midfielder, was training with some of the world’s best players, such as Smith who she had looked up to.

Asked what she had learned during her time at Arsenal Ayisi said: “It was good to play with players I watched and knew about when I was younger ,like Rachel Yankey and Kelly Smith, just watching them in training you learn from them and their technique.”

Ayisi helped Arsenal reach the 2014 FA Women’s Cup final but was an unused substitute in the 2-0 win over Everton at Stadium MK.

Getting your hands on a trophy is undoubtedly every footballer’s dream but when asked to pick her career highlight to date Ayisi said: “I don’t know what my career highlight is so far as I’ve still got to experience so much in football”.

The 25-year-old now plays for London City Lionesses and asked about her hopes and aspirations with the club when football is safe enough to resume she explained: “My hopes are to play good football and get promoted to the Women’s Super League and to test ourselves against some of the best players in the world.”

Asked about how she started to play football the talented Ayisi added: “I started playing at the age of four with my brothers and cousins and it went from there”

As for coping during the current coronavirus pandemic, Ayisi explained how she was training and keeping herself motivated, saying: “I’ve been going on daily runs and doing home workouts during this time.”

With Ayisi having played at the top level of the English game she was asked to give her advice to upcoming players and suggested: “Work hard and believe in your ability.”

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