Following the announcement of the first six players who’d renewed their deals last week, Aston Villa have released the details of the next four who’ve extended for the coming season.
Having been with Villa since 2013, Tash Baptiste adjusted well and never failed to shine on the pitch, particularly coming to the fore last year when given an extended run in the side following Katie Wilkinson’s complicated injury layoff.
Another player who’s been on an upward curve since signing, Joe Hunt is happy not just with Baptiste’s development but with how her “all around game” has progressed and is particularly happy to see her in such fine fettle in front of goal in pre-season.
One of the lesser known figures at the Midlands club and regular deputy to Jess Myers, Chloe Beattie made her senior bow for the Villainesses back in 2014 at just 16 but has struggled to get a run between the sticks.
“Unlucky,” was how Hunt described the end to Beattie’s season, having learnt well under Grace Moloney when the Irish international came in on loan for Reading, Beattie was being readied to feature in the last two games of the season before an injury put paid to the idea. With “all the attributes” to be a top goalkeeper, Hunt is expecting to see Beattie compete for a starting spot this year.
With versatility key in the side, Maddy Cusack fits the role of a utility defender perfectly, able to switch from centre back to midfielder. With an eye for a tackle and good experience with the England U19 team as well a local WPL sides, Cusack remains a key part of the Villa team.
Fondly remembered by Hunt as the first signing he made when he took the reins in 2012, Cusack has been a regular starter for the Midlands team, the coach feels that a firm role has helped the midfielder grow and she’s performed well in the back line. Referred to as “great player” who’s shown real maturity on the pitch by her coach, Hunt expects Cusack’s development to continue in an upward curve.
As one of the more senior members of Hunt’s squad, captain Katy Moran does well to lead the side from the back, adapt at playing in the defensive hole as well as higher up in attack.
Another who’s been unlucky with injuries, Hunt is pleased with how Moran has started off her pre-season, regarded as “fitter than ever” by her coach, he’s hoping she can kick on this year and build on her impressive form from the 2016 season. With “competition fierce”, Hunt is certain Moran will be battling for that starting spot.