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Miedema: I want to be an Arsenal legend

Dutch striker talks trophies, heroes and reveals her long-term goal to become part of Gunners history, writes Catherine Etoe

20 November, 2020 — By Catherine Etoe

Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema battles with Pernille Harder as Chelsea boss Emma Hayes looks on from the dugout during Sunday’s 1-1 FAWSL draw. Photo: Kunjan Malde for The FA

HOT-SHOT Vivianne Miedema met the press this week to discuss becoming the first player to hit a half-century of FA Women’s Super League goals.

The Netherlands forward has helped steer the Gunners to a League Cup and FAWSL title since joining from Bayern Munich in 2017.

But the 24-year-old, who also boasts two Frauen-Bundesliga titles, Euro gold and World Cup silver in her trophy cabinet, brushed off suggestions that she was fast becoming an Arsenal legend.

She was, though, happy to discuss her Arsenal heroes, namely fellow strikers Ian Wright and Robin van Persie, and their support for the women’s game.

She said: “Right now, with where we stand, it’s amazing to have support from players like Wrighty, from Robin, and to be seen as part of the club, not just from the club side but also from a fans’ perspective, and you can see it growing. It’s really exciting.”

Miedema added that it was “special” to come to Arsenal and wear the number 11 shirt, just like her childhood hero van Persie.

But I couldn’t help but wonder how much influence the success of past Arsenal women’s players have had on one of the most gifted strikers of her generation.

And the answer is, quite a lot.

“Arsenal [Women] has had a great history,” she told me. “I think that motivates you even more as a player to go to play for a club like Arsenal, to help and rebuild them to what they’ve once been after a couple of hard and difficult years.”

That means more silverware, which Miedema is desperate to get her hands on.

“I hope the club goes in the right direction,” she added. “And I hope I can keep developing myself as a player and in five or six years’ time I can say, ‘Yeah, I am an Arsenal legend’, and not just by scoring goals, but also by winning leagues and other cups.”

“That’s life,” shrugged Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro after a flukey own goal at the death deprived his side of a precious victory over Emma Hayes’ defending FAWSL champions Chelsea on Sunday.

Former Stoke Newington School sixth-former Lotte Wubben-Moy was the unfortunate scorer, the ball looping off her leg and into her own net after she blocked Pernille Harder’s cross on the line.

It was a crushing blow given that a mere four minutes earlier, Vivianne Miedema had laid the ball on a plate for Beth Mead to fire home what looked set to be a late Gunners winner.

The all-action FAWSL clash had actually been a fine showcase for 21-year-old Wubben-Moy, the die-hard Arsenal fan named player of the match just before the freak equaliser.

And while Montemurro admitted that the 1-1 draw almost felt like a defeat, he nevertheless praised his defender.

“She’s fine, she’s strong,” he said. “I commend her for stepping in in a tough situation today and showing that she’s a player for the future. The maturity she showed was unbelievable.”

Montemurro is not the only manager to have been impressed by Wubben-Moy this season. On Tuesday she was called up by Phil Neville for England’s upcoming senior camp. Jordan Nobbs, Mead and Leah Williamson also made the cut.

Spurs also fell to a late leveller in their 2-2 draw away to Bristol City on Saturday. Siri Worm and Ashleigh Neville were on target for the visitors, who were down to 10 when Rianna Dean was red-carded 13 minutes from time.

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