Sarah Mayling has rejoined Aston Villa after a successful four-and-a-half years at Birmingham City.
Mayling meets up again with head coach Carla Ward after the former Blues manager joined the Villans back in May.
Ward will be delighted to capture the services of Mayling after the outstanding season she had at Birmingham. Mayling was voted Players’ Player of the Season by her fellow teammates and it’s easy to see why. She can play in almost every position from full-back, to midfield, to winger.
Mayling made 85 appearances for the Blues since joining them in January 2017, ironically from Aston Villa. During that time she played under Marc Skinner, Marta Tejedor, and most recently Carla Ward.
Mayling pursues her dream
Sarah originally joined Aston Villa at the age of eight and she worked her way up through the age groups to break into the first team whilst only 16. She made her debut for the Villains’ first team against Doncaster Rovers Belles in the FA Cup in February 2014. She later made her WSL 2 debut in April 2014, also against the Belles.
Mayling had a very successful three years with the Villa first team whilst they were in the WSL 2. She made 49 appearances mainly in midfield or on the wings.Embed from Getty Images
In 2015, whilst away with the England U17s, Mayling suffered an ACL injury which kept her out for the rest of the season. However, she worked hard to recover and was one of Villa’s outstanding players in the 2016 season under former head coach Joe Hunt.
In fact, she impressed so much that the newly-appointed Birmingham City head coach made Mayling an offer she couldn’t refuse. In January 2017, she made the step up to the WSL and fulfilled her dream of becoming a professional footballer.
Now Mayling is pursuing her dreams once again. This move is a no-brainer for her to go to a bigger, better club and also the chance to team up with her old boss Ward.
Villa legend returns home
Mayling’s heart is at Villa. She’s been a Villa season ticket holder all her life as claret and blue runs through her veins. Mayling will know most of the staff and players at the club and will feel very much like she’s returned home.
From 2014 to 2016, Mayling was adored by the Villa faithful and they will be delighted to see her back. Many Villains followed her exploits at the Blues and will know exactly what she can bring to the team.
When Mayling broke into the first team in 2014, Hunt was delighted. “The emergence of 16-year-old midfielder Sarah Mayling is comparable to when Wayne Rooney burst onto the scene at Everton.”
Hunt also went on to say: “Mayling is quick, direct, technically sound, strong and athletic. She’s one of the hottest prospects in the female game – the complete midfielder.”
What Mayling can bring to Villa
Mayling is one of the most versatile players in the WSL. During her four-and-a-half years at Birmingham, she played in both full-back positions, every midfield position, and up front on both wings.
As a full-back, Mayling instinctively knows how to block off the opposition. In midfield, she links up with her teammates to play a clever ball to open up more space. Going forwards, she has speed and can muscle past opponents down either wing. Her ability to cross the ball with such pinpoint accuracy is a spectacle to watch.
Last season, Ward got the best out of Mayling. The stats don’t lie either as she was the team’s leading assists provider and the second-highest goal scorer. She won both the Players’ Player of the Season award was voted Player of the Season by passionate fanbase Birmingham City Women’s Supporters Group.
Mayling is certain to be one of Villa’s key players this season as they look to kick on from narrowly avoiding relegation last season. The owners are fully backing the club and with Ward’s ability to bring in the right players and get them playing as a unit, Villa are destined to have a far more succesful season ahead.