Alex Morgan’s deadline-day move to Tottenham Hotspurs was a shock to the football world — and it was also a boon for a still developing team looking to climb out of its mid-table status.
Morgan, who gave birth to her daughter on May 7, is arguably one of the best strikers in the world. Her finishing is clinical and her IQ for the game is unparalleled. However, her match-level fitness has yet to be tested, and where she might fit into Spurs’ system remains to be seen.
Speaking before her new team’s match against Manchester City on Twitter last weekend, Morgan explained that she is working on being patient with herself after coming back from pregnancy.
Spurs finished seventh in the 2019/20 FA Women’s Super League season, having gained promotion to the division the season prior. Now, in their second season in the Women’s Super League, they are looking to move from a consistent mid-table team, to a squad that can challenge in cup competitions and against the top four.
As a developing team, it will still take time for them to compete with the top clubs. However, their recent signings will strengthen the team this year and will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact even after their dealsfinish. And, with so much uncertainty as to when normal competition may return to the National Women’s Soccer League, there is always the possibility that these players will choose to stay. Morgan has that option.
Spurs are an innovative squad with plenty of potential. The only team in the league with two head coaches, Karen Hills and Juan Amoros, they recognize that they are still in a developmental phase but believe they are starting to compete with the top clubs.
In his review of the club’s 2019/2020 season, Amoros said: “We’ve seen an important progression this season. Yes, we haven’t been able to win any games against the teams at the top, but we’ve come extremely close.
“Sometimes, games are decided by key moments such as Beth England’s goal at Stamford Bridge, and we had our chances in that game and against Arsenal. We are closing the gap and I am confident that we will continue to do so next season.”
Right now, however, they are missing tenacity in front of goal — something that Morgan will certainly provide. Despite the unknowns surrounding her fitness, the 31-year-old will threaten any back line in the league.
Her well-timed forward runs have been a hallmark throughout her career, but as the years have gone by, she has become well versed in playing with her back to goal as well. When she does make her debut — which could come this Saturday against Manchester United (7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN) — she will likely fit in as a target player up front for the London side.
If she’s not turning players and leaving them in her dust, Morgan is strong and can hold the ball before laying it off to her teammates. In addition to her talents on the ball, her sheer presence on the pitch will surely draw defenders towards her. This could create spaces on the pitch for other players such as Anna Filbey, Kit Graham and Rianna Dean to contribute more to the attack.
Spurs should also look to create opportunities for chemistry between the United States international and her Orlando Pride teammates. While both Shelina Zadorsky and Alanna Kennedy are still working on finding their footing within the team’s systems, with all three of them on the pitch they will be able to create the spine for Spurs lineup. Kennedy, in particular, struggled against Man City to find her passing rhythm and vision that she is known for, but with Morgan up front, Kennedy will have a target that she is used to threading balls to.
While the wait continues for Morgan to make her debut, her patience in her return to play indicates that she will only start when she feels she is at her best. The star forward has always held herself to a high standard and there is no doubt that she will bring the same passion for the game to Tottenham this season.
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