Monday 8 January 2018

Liverpool Ladies attacker Ashley Hodson looks to the future

​“I'm very pleased to be at this club. I just want to better myself and I believe I have the perfect opportunity to do that here.”

When Ashley Hodson headed home in the Reds' last home game against Aston Villa, the attacker achieved a personal landmark. Her fine finish from Niamh Charles' pinpoint cross was the first time she has found the net in front of the Reds' home support and helped put the team on course for the quarter-finals of the Continental Cup as they saw off Aston Villa 5-1.

It had been more than two years since her last Liverpool goal, which also came in the Continental Cup as the Reds won 3-0 at Doncaster Rovers Belles back in July 2015.

“It was pleasing to score.” she says. “It was a great ball in from Niamh. I just got myself in the right position and luckily it went in.”

Earlier Ashley had provided the assist as Jess Clarke headed the Reds in front against their FA WSL 2 opponents. “You know when you put the ball in the box in this team, there's always going to be someone there and Jess took it very well.

“We knew we needed to get the job done and we knew that we needed to get a win to get through to the next round of the cup. That result and performance against Villa were exactly what we were aiming for. We wanted to perform and we wanted to give a professional display and I felt we did that. It was a good scoreline and hopefully we can carry on that kind of form in the games we've got coming up.”

The Villa game was Ashley's third start of the season and she was pleased to be handed a chance to show off her talent. She retained her place in the last of the Continental Cup group games at Sunderland and for the quarter-final at Chelsea before Christmas.

“You always want to be in the starting line-up,” she says. “When your opportunity comes you've just got to take it to prove yourself to the manager so hopefully I can just keep improving on that. We won our last two home games here against Birmingham City and Aston Villa and hopefully we can use our pitch to our advantage again today and help us find some momentum again in the league.”

In November Ashley joined fellow Reds Becky Flaherty, Ellie Fletcher and Ali Johnson in signing a new contract with Liverpool Ladies and she was delighted to put pen to paper.

“I'm very pleased to be at this club. I've been here for quite a few years now, so I just want to better myself and I believe I have the perfect opportunity to do that here.”

Reds boss Scott Rogers was thrilled to secure Ashley's services for an extended spell.

“I am delighted that Ashley has agreed to sign a new deal with the club,” he said. “She is a player with big potential and is also one of the longest serving players at the club. Ashley gained some valuable experience during the FA WSL Spring Series and her aim now will be to cement a place in the starting line-up.”

That Spring Series saw Ashley demonstrate another string to her bow as she proved an able deputy at right-back in the absence of the unavailable Satara Murray and injured Martha Harris.

“Right-back's not my natural position but I did my best to do what the manager asked of me and I thought we did pretty well as a team during the Spring Series. Satty is back now and it's great to see Martha fit again so it's nice for me to get minutes higher up the pitch because that's where I want to be playing and hopefully I can keep improving and show the manager and the supporters what I'm capable of.”

Ashley is part of a Liverpool squad packed full of attacking talent which is capable of playing in wide roles or down the middle. She believes the competition for places with players of the calibre of Bethany England, Niamh Charles, Jess Clarke and Ali Johnson is a healthy situation for the team and the pace contained in the squad makes for an exciting forward line whichever combination of players is preferred for any given game.

“We like to play with a bit of fluidity and we've got people who can play left-wing, right-wing or up front. We like to keep it rotating and have our opponents guessing and that's what we hope to use to our advantage."

DID YOU KNOW?

Ashley made her 50th appearance for Liverpool Ladies when she came on as a substitute in the win over Everton on the opening day of the season. She provided an assist for Niamh Charles as the Reds won 2-0.

FACT FILE

Ashley is a former student of Edge Hill University and has an honours degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology. She says: “I plan to continue with my footballing career and also look to use skills I’ve learned whilst studying at Edge Hill for a career in sport.”

HEAD GIRLS

Ashley's goal against Aston Villa in the Reds' last home game was one of two first-half headers with Jess Clarke also on target following Ashley's cross.

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