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Arsenal boss hails 'versatile' McCabe after another top performance and stunning goal

The Ireland captain was Sky Sports’ Player of the Match yesterday, scoring her third goal in as many league games.

arsenal-v-everton-fa-womens-super-league-meadow-park Katie McCabe on the ball yesterday. Source: PA

KATIE MCCABE CONTINUED her rich vein of form yesterday as Arsenal maintained their 100% start to the Women’s Super League [WSL] season by beating Everton 3-0.

The Ireland captain turned in a Player of the Match performance, scoring another stunnner and providing an assist as she set herself apart as the Gunners’ star of the show.

McCabe’s audacious first-half goal was her third in as many WSL games, with OptaJoe confirming that Arsenal have won all 14 WSL clashes she has scored in.

The Dubliner has enjoyed a remarkable rise at the London club since signing from Shelbourne in 2015, with last season a simply stunning individual one in which she well and truly established herself as a world-class left-sided player.

The upward trajectory has continued this campaign under the watchful eye of new manager Jonas Eideval; the Swedish boss utilising her both a left-back and on the left wing so effectively, as his side sit three points clear atop the table.

“She’s so versatile,” Eideval told Arseblog News after yesterday’s win, “and to be honest, she has played a little bit as an attacking midfielder for us this year as well.

“I think she’s been brilliant when she has been doing that as well. In all those positions (winger, full-back and attacking midfielder), she will give you the pace, give you the dribbles with her left foot and obviously her crosses and finishes.

She can play in a lot of different positions. What I like about Katie is that she can bring different things to the team depending on where you have her in the starting position. So, as a coach, sometimes you can fit her into a position where you think it will fit the match picture.”

Eideval, who succeeded Joe Montemurro at the helm this summer, also hailed the 25-year-old’s assist — a corner which Lotte Wubben-Moy got on the end of to make it 2-0, and the “quality” triangle she forms with superstars Tobin Heath and Vivianne Miedema.

McCabe’s set-piece delivery to the back post is a move that has worked on several occasions now; Eideval crediting goalkeeping coach Sebastian Barton and assistant coach Leanne Hall for their work in that department.

“It’s really nice to see that we score so many goals from it and we are solid defensively so far, so I think that’s important if you want to be a winning team,” he added.

With Frida Maanum capping the win in style with a spectacular 88th-minute effort, McCabe was asked about her own impressive goal-scoring run in her Player of the Match interview with Sky Sports.

“You can tell by the reaction when it goes in that I’m not very prepared,” the Kilnamanagh native smiled. “Me and the girls have been having a laugh and joke about that.

“Look, it’s always nice to contribute in games and I’m just happy to pick up the three points in each game that I score in.

Frida and I were probably the worst two in training yesterday for shooting and then we pull up with the goods today! Look, I’m just happy contributing to the win today.”

McCabe spoke about “taking each game as it comes” and “enjoying football” amidst a hectic schedule with Arsenal, who suffered a heavy Champions League defeat to Barcelona midweek.

She also touched on enjoying “playing a bit higher up this season,” something that has been debated quite a lot over the last few months as she’s utilised differently for club and country.

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With Ireland’s 2023 World Cup qualifying campaign opening later this month, her positioning was a hot topic in media interviews in the lead-up to the 3-2 friendly win over Australia.

“I don’t mind once it’s on the pitch,” she told The42. “Obviously last year, Joe had me left-back, which I loved and I thought I had a really good season individually in that position.

But I think it’s different with Ireland. I think each nation you’re playing against, you have to change your approach a little bit. Vera [Pauw, Ireland manager] has obviously played me left wing back, left-back, left wing. As I said, honestly I don’t mind.

“Obviously down that left somewhere, that’s my natural position. Probably preferably up higher a little bit, just so I can influence the game. We’ll see. I’d play anywhere.”

In that same interview, she spoke about her goals with Arsenal. Finishing third in the WSL last year “wasn’t good enough,” with big intentions to add to the 2018/19 crown.

“For us, last year, not not getting a trophy didn’t sit right with us. When you play for Arsenal, you’re always expected to win trophies. We want to be up there amongst it again, leading the way hopefully. I think there’s five trophies this year to challenge for. I’d like to get my hands on at least a couple of them.”

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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Emma Duffy

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