Attacking midfielders are the maestros of the game. Whether it’s pinpointing a 40-yard pass to set up a goal, running rings around the opposition defence, or firing in an absolute beauty of a goal, they are the linchpins of any successful team.
Yet, it’s not often they make the headlines. It’s the goal line clearances and stoppage time winners that sell papers, when all too often none of that would have happened without the puppeteer in the centre of the pitch, pulling the strings.
Caroline Weir is a true unsung hero. If you’re not a women’s football fan, you could be forgiven if you’re not familiar with her name — but you should be familiar with her work.
Caroline Weir: the beginning
Like so many before her, Weir began her footballing career playing for a boys team. Elgin Star back home in Scotland was her first team. She then joined up with Hibernian Ladies at the age of ten.
After 40 appearances and an incredible 21 goals, she left for Arsenal women. She won an FA Cup with the Gunners in 2014, at the age of just 19. A sporadic few years followed, playing for Bristol City & Liverpool before Weir signed for Manchester City in 2018.
Manchester City and Caroline Weir
Since joining the Shark Team, Weir has made 69 appearances, scoring 20 goals and assisting 14. That’s a goal involvement in 50% of her games. To put that into perspective, that’s only 4% less than Brazilian legend Marta.
Since joining the WSL in 2013, she’s only received 6 yellow cards and has never been sent off, despite playing in countless high-pressure and high-stakes games.
As fantastic as the stats are, they don’t do justice to what a truly fantastic player she is. Her mentality is second to none – a perfect combination of pure passion and ultimate mental control. She has an unflinching desire to win but always remains calm on the ball. She can spot the run of an attacker before the defender even has a chance to sort out their feet.
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If you ask any City fan why they love Caroline Weir, they’ll probably mention her ability to score absolute worldies – especially against bitter rivals Manchester United. Incredibly, the 2020 Scottish Player Of The Year has chipped the Red Devils’ keeper from 25 yards in their past two encounters, the second being a carbon copy of the first.
The Dunfermline native is sure to play a huge part in Manchester City’s FA Cup semi-final this weekend. The Blues go against West Ham United, desperate to get their hands back on football’s oldest trophy.