Tottenham are a team that are rising in the Women’s Super League and showed what they are capable of on Sunday.
Their two defeats came against Arsenal and Manchester City who both finished above Spurs last season by finishing fifth.
Tottenham have only been in the WSL for three years but are showing rapid progress and have ambitions to close the gap with those above them.
Last season they were We are talking about as Champions League contenders and despite Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea getting off to a good start in the WSL this year, Tottenham are reminding people why they shouldn’t be written off.
Neville shines as Spurs gain momentum
Spurs have grown on and off the pitch over the past few years and it shows in their results.
Their fifth-place finish in the WSL last season was their highest ever. They finished seventh and eighth respectively in their first seasons, but climbed to fifth in 2021-22 despite competition and growing investment from Brighton, West Ham and Everton.
One rising player is defender Ashleigh Neville, who joined the club in 2017 at the second tier and has already scored four goals in six appearances this season, including two against Brighton.
She is currently the club’s top goalscorer and assists player and has attracted interest from Manchester United this summer.
“Each week, Neville consistently delivers. You know what you’re going to get. She sets the tone and has real intent,” manager Skinner said.
Neville has been tipped for a call-up to England ahead of next summer’s World Cup, while Spurs new signings Drew Spence and Nicola Karczewska have also contributed five goals between them.
“I don’t know where the goals are coming from this season. It would have been nice to get a hat-trick but we can’t really complain with eight goals [against Brighton]“, said Neville.
“Everyone kept the momentum going and wanted the same thing. It’s huge for us. We showed that we can put goals past the teams. We have to continue this week after week.”
Brighton’s thrashing by Spurs comes before they host Everton and West Ham at Leyton Orient and travel to Reading and Chelsea before Christmas.
Skinner doesn’t believe success will come overnight, but has called for consistency and Spurs are starting to steadily come out on top against those around them in the draw.
“We showed our intention from the first minute. [against Brighton]. It showed what the players and the team are capable of in front of goal,” Skinner said.
“The players just needed to start believing in it. We needed it and I think it’s a platform we can build on.”
What has been put in place to progress?
Tottenham’s progress is built on solid foundations.
After being promoted to the WSL for the 2019-20 season, the women began to strengthen their relationship with the club’s men’s team.
In December 2020, women started training full time at Hotspur Way having previously spent only one day a week there, and the rest of the time at The Hive.
It was a demonstration of the club’s intention to provide the best possible facilities for the women’s team to thrive.
The women were given their own building, training ground and recovery center within the complex, alongside their male counterparts.
They need golf carts to get around the complex because it’s so big and they have everything available to them – even a ‘vegetable garden’ growing fresh vegetables used by the club’s chefs.
It is also understood that USA international Kristie Mewis has trained with Tottenham on several occasions this season, including in the week before their win over Brighton.
With the rise in training standards, women have shifted their home games at Brisbane Road Stadium at the start of this season – with several games also taking place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
New staff members were brought in, including a nutritionist, while Skinner received a bigger budget in the transfer market.
This led to the signing of former Chelsea striker Spence, Wales international Angharad James, former Manchester United defender Amy Turner and much-loved Polish forward Karczewska.
Manager Skinner too signed a contract extension in April to keep her at the club until 2024, so everything is in place for Tottenham to develop over the coming seasons.