Ella Hartley Interview
England International Ella Hartley arrived at Nethermoor Park with tremendous junior pedigree having previously played at Manchester United Centre of Excellence and Everton Ladies. After joining Yorkshire rivals Sheffield FC Ladies, she captained the development team during the 2016-17 season, whilst topping the development goalscoring charts for two years from an attacking midfield position.
Hartley, is a confident and intelligent young player with bags of technical ability and flair and it is easy to see why she is so highly rated and has gone on to be selected for England at U15, U17 & U19 levels.
Having just broken into the Sheffield FC Ladies first team towards the end of last season and despite interest from a number of clubs in the summer, Hartley signed for Guiseley Vixens and made an excellent start to the season. Unfortunately, she ruptured her ACL early in the season and had to undergo surgery which has meant she has been sidelined for most of the season.
Chadwick Media this week spoke to the Guiseley Vixens attacking midfielder to discuss her career and also find out about her journey back to fitness and her plans of playing first team football back at Nethermoor Park.
Biggest influence on your career in football?
I have had a lot of influences on my career in football with lots of support from coaching staff, team mates and teachers. However my biggest influence must be my mother, this is because from a young age when I realised I wanted to pursue a career in football, she has been the one driving the length of the country taking me to training, fixtures and trials, always encouraged me and supported me to become the best player I could be.
What is your best football highlight?
My football highlight was being called up for my first international cap, I was nervous and apprehensive at first but playing alongside some of the best girls in the country for our age group and representing England was definitely a highlight.
What is your football lowlight?
That would be this season, I recently ruptured my ACL and underwent surgery early in my first season playing for Guiseley Vixens. This has been a particularly challenging and frustrating time but the support of the girls and coaching staff at the club has made me determined to come back stronger. I am excited to return to full fitness and continue playing for the club.
Tell us about your League Debut?
My Vixens league debut was against Huddersfield Town Ladies where we suffered a 2-1 defeat. I recall feeling particularly nervous walking out of the changing room wearing my Guiseley kit for the first time. I turned to my team mate Sophie Walton and told her how nervous I was. She gave me some reassuring words and then the match was underway. It was a close game and we were trailing 1-0. Then the ball got played through and I found myself scoring my first competitive goal to equalise. Although we lost it was a strong team performance and showed that we were more than capable of competing with the top teams this season
Toughest Opponent You faced and Why?
Stoke City always give us a good game, the physicality of the team across all areas of the pitch make them a difficult team to play against. They have a lot of aerial threats and are strong in their challenges.
Best goal you have scored and why?
In terms of feeling, whilst playing at Sheffield FC we were losing 1-0 to my former club Everton Ladies, the ball was played through, it was about the 88th minute and I calmly slotted it past the keeper to nick a point against my old team that felt good. However my best goal technically would have been one against Notts County. I took a touch to bring the ball down, before lobbing the keeper from outside the area and we went on to win the game.
Best manager you have played for and why?
Throughout my career I have been fortunate to have had some top quality managers, Zoe Johnson former manager of Sheffield FC Ladies is a stand out for me. Zoe is keen to drive good standards, professionalism and really knows how to bring the best out of her players. I found she not only knew how to manage her players but she also provided them some of the best training sessions I’ve been a part of. Glen Preston is also a quality manager, he dedicates a lot of time to the club to provide the team with well structured sessions, tactics and performance analysis which I’ve found particularly beneficial in improving my performance.
Best player you played with and why?
Katie Zelem, whilst playing alongside her at Manchester United I looked up to her as one of the older players in the age group. Her technical ability was exceptional and she is a player who always worked hard and did extra away from the set training session which inspired me to do the same. Zelem was a strong leader and I really believe I learned a lot playing alongside her.
Best player you have played against and why?
Natasha Flint who plays for Blackburn Rovers, I always think Natasha is a player who just loves playing and this shows in her performance. On the ball she is very powerful and can take players on, not only that she finishes very well given a yard of space she will punish you.
Where do you think Guiseley Vixens can finish in the league this season ?
At the beginning of the season a top three finish was definitely within the realms of possibility, however with an unfortunate amount of injuries to our attacking players a top five finish should be possible. The quality of players within the team like captain Alarna Fuller and Lauren Griffiths alongside the signings made this season, which are growing from strength to strength means we will be expecting a strong finish in both league and cup competitions.