Enoch Eicher tells us more about Chelsea Ladies’ latest acquisition, Niamh Charles, and the huge significance her transfer will have in the coming seasons.

Niamh Charles joins Chelsea Ladies from recently relegated Liverpool, where she had shone despite the Reds struggles on the pitch. She is everything you want from a winger; tricky, fearless and captivating with the ball at her feet. And most excitingly for Chelsea, she is still just 21 years old. Niamh will be up against the likes of Beth England, Kerr, Reiten, Erin Cuthbert, Ji So-yun, Fran Kirby, in the addition to youngsters Jamie-Lee Napier and Emily Murphy. 

Big occasions come along frequently at Chelsea – be it title deciders, FA Cup finals or Champions League showdowns – and Charles has already demonstrated her ability to thrive on the biggest stage of her career thus far. Chelsea under Hayes are building a side that will hope to rival Lyon on the European Stage, and Niamh Charles may prove pivotal down the line. 

Tactical Analysis

Charles has a good eye for seeing what is happening in the game and moving into the areas where she can influence the match. She has an obvious love of dribbling and is one of those players who wants to keep the ball when she gets it. A lot of players, and coaches for that matter, prefer to play quick football, which gets the ball up the field quickly, but Niamh Charles likes to take it through the opposition’s defence herself which is aided by her sheer pace.   

When Charles is playing on the wing, she occasionally works with a teammate causing opposing defenders to leave space open. Being on the wing doesn’t restrict her positioning, like with any winger, and she has the freedom and pace to run and shoot at goal. There are many reasons why she is able to do this with so much ease. Firstly, her ability to take the ball and dribble with it. Secondly, her positioning to be in that area in the first place. Finally, her pace to ensure she gets away from the defenders chasing her. 

Niamh can also drop back into defence and play her part there too which was evident in the match vs Chelsea where she would slot into the Right-wingback role to stop Chelsea players from drilling through-balls to their Right wingers.  

What we can conclude is that,  Niamh Charles is a versatile player, able to operate in different areas of the pitch. Opposing defenders can’t leave her unguarded on the wings – She is unplayable. 

What Niamh Said

‘Emma Hayes is one of the most highly-regarded managers in our game. She was a huge part of my decision to come to the club. I know she will help me fulfil my potential and I will be working hard to make sure I give myself every opportunity to learn, develop and improve as a player. I can’t wait to get started. 

‘I’m joining the current WSL champions and this club regularly competes for trophies domestically and in Europe – something I can’t wait to be a part of.”  

‘I want to say to the fans that I will always give my all and I’m really looking forward to playing in front of them at Kingsmeadow. The support Chelsea get is amongst the best in the league and I’m sure that together, we’ll enjoy lots of success.’ 

What Emma Hayes said

‘Her abilities out wide will be utilised on both flanks and we know her best years are to come. She knows what it takes to succeed here and she has a great head on her shoulders. I’m excited to show the fans her pace and ability in one-v-one situations.’ 

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