OPINION: Is the scene set for Mace’s Manchester City debut against former club Arsenal? | OneFootball
OPINION: Is the scene set for Mace’s Manchester City debut against former club Arsenal?
Former Arsenal utility player Ruby Mace could be in contention to face her former club this weekend with current side Manchester City potentially being very short of numbers in the defensive area.
The 18-year-old can operate in various defensive or midfield roles but she is still awaiting her debut for Manchester City since joining the club from Arsenal in the summer.
Manchester City’s defensive concerns have increased during the international break with both Steph Houghton and Alex Greenwood picking up injuries. The pair could be struggling to make the trip to Meadow Park, although head coach Gareth Taylor is set to provide an update on their fitness battles on Friday. Houghton and Greenwood have joined fellow defenders Lucy Bronze and Esme Morgan in the treatment room at The Academy Stadium.
Should Houghton and Greenwood miss the match, it raises questions over who will deputise at the heart of the defence. Australian international Alanna Kennedy would be almost sure to retain her place at centre-back after playing in that position against Tottenham Hotspur but who would partner her? Defensive midfielder Filippa Angeldahl could drop into a deeper role to what she is used to or alternatively, Manchester City boss Taylor could turn to youngster Mace, a player who has been an unused substitute on four occasions for the club this season.
Mace’s role at dual club Birmingham City last season saw her utilised in both defence and midfield. It should be noted that former Birmingham City boss Carla Ward largely preferred Mace in a centre-back role when the Blues faced what one would class as ‘top five’ opposition. The youngster never started a Barclays FA Women’s Super League fixture for former club Arsenal but she does have some big game defensive experience with Birmingham City.
With just 1,003 minutes of Barclays FA Women’s Super League football under her belt so far, Manchester City boss Taylor may have a decision to make on whether Mace is ready for what could be a big six-pointer against Arsenal this weekend, however, the teenager gained senior experience and grew in character during her time with Birmingham City last season and this could be the opportunity that she has been waiting for. Football works in mysterious ways and things sometimes happen for a reason. Maybe it is the time for Mace to shine against her former employers.