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Atkinson: I've used my time in the stands wisely

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By Colette Carr

Izzy Atkinson said she didn't want her time sidelines to be in vain as she looks to earn her way back into Fran Alonso's side with an even better knowledge of Celtic's new brand of football.

While the young winger's return to the Irish fold was marred by injury and what she calls her best football was put on hold, the 20-year-old shows vast maturity beyond her years. Only experiencing Alonso's new system twice the forward agreed she was able to spend her time in the stands wisely, becoming a student of the game and assessing the new formation to give her a better understanding when she returns to the pitch.

“Funnily enough, I've been speaking to my dad about this and I think it may be a blessing in disguise, watching from the stands,” she admitted.

“You really do see the game from a completely different point of view and now that I'm back on the pitch I'm trying to remember the things I know I'd never have noticed if I had been playing, so I'm looking to pick up on those things now I'm back on the pitch. I want to get something out of being injured.”

Atkinson’s return to international duty was her richly-deserved reward after flying for club in pre-season and their SWPL Cup and Champions League matches. Despite the setback she still valued her time with the Irish squad knowing just how important being surrounded by experienced players was. 

She said: “I had a lot to prove in my own mind when I was finally called back into seniors, so it was a bit disappointing, but I just told myself I'd come back to Celtic and work hard, and preseason there was the best football I had played, so I just thought I'd focus and do well here and hopefully be called back up again.

“It was amazing to be back in with all the girls. I was in when I was 16, and then again about six months ago, but even going in again it felt different, so it's about getting used to it. Being around all those experienced players like Katie McCabe and Denise O'Sullivan was great, so I'm really hoping I get back in again.”

Her impressive Celtic form had led to her playing her most confident football in years she said, and she’s now just hoping to rediscover that form.

“It was probably the most confident I've been in years. It felt like I was young again and just wanting to run the pitch again

“Obviously I've been back in with the team, and you do feel that little bit behind but I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing and find my sharpness and feet again and hopefully get back into the team soon.”


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