|Date: Saturday, 26 September Kick-off: 17:15 BST Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and online|
Tottenham Hotspur Women could only have dreamt of signing a player of World Cup star Alex Morgan’s calibre a few years ago, says co-head coach Juan Amoros.
The 31-year-old United States forward could make her Spurs debut at Arsenal in Saturday’s Women’s FA Cup quarter-final, live on BBC Two (17:15 BST).
“When we found out that she could be joining us we were over the moon. It’s obviously a no-brainer,” Amoros said.
“When they ask if you want to sign Alex Morgan, obviously the answer is yes.”
Amoros, who joined Spurs in 2011 when they were playing in a regional, amateur league, added: “We’ve been here for so long and been developing this club for such a long period, that for us to have a player of that calibre – a World Cup winner, an Olympic Gold medallist – a few years back that was only a dream.”
Co-head coach Karen Hills added: “The growth of Spurs Women over the last four or five years has been an exceptional journey. To have a player of Alex’s calibre is only going to keep pushing us forward.
“Some of the players who have been with us for the past four or five seasons, coming from semi-professional, and now training and playing alongside a World Cup winner with so many other accolades, it just goes to show the ambition of the club and the ambition of us as coaches.
“But there are now more aspirations. What next? We’re very passionate people, we never want to stand still.”
Spurs to make late call on Morgan’s selection
Spurs were in the London and South East Regional Premier Division when Hills first took over in 2007 and the club steadily worked their way up through the divisions, with Amoros joining Hills from 2011.
They faced Arsenal in the cup in 2017 – then as a third-tier club – but were beaten 10-0 by their north London neighbours in that meeting.
Three seasons and two promotions later, Spurs go to the Gunners on Saturday just two wins away from a Wembley final on 31 October.
New arrival Morgan, who gave birth to her daughter on 7 May, is eligible for the tie and has been training with the club already, after they successfully applied for a “quarantine exemption”, Hills said, although Spurs will make a late call on her fitness before selecting Saturday’s team.
The fixture was originally scheduled for March but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic and the Football Association decided to complete the latter stages of the 2019-20 cup after the new season had started.
Arsenal ‘focusing only on themselves’
Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro believes the decision to resume the cup competition sent out a “very important” message for the sport.
“The message that it sends from the governing body, and for the game itself, is that we want to still deliver an important product, we want to still deliver high-class football and high levels of football, and the FA Cup is that,” the Gunners’ Australian coach said.
“It [shows] the clubs have a thirst and a desire to finish it, but also it’s an important message for the game and for the FA, to say we believe it is an important tournament, we believe we have got to find a way to finish it.”
Arsenal are the record 14-time winners of the cup and have started the new Women’s Super League season with consecutive 6-1 and 9-1 victories over Reading and West Ham respectively.
Asked about Morgan’s arrival, Montemurro added: “The social media explosion has been fantastic and it’s put focus on the game which is great, but we will obviously assess the situation and the role that she potentially will play, so we’ll wait and see but our preparation will be on us, will be on our strengths and weaknesses and making sure we’re mentally prepared.
“We get to play against top players so from our perspective it only adds to the growth and the great league that the WSL is. There’s no player that has been singled out, we’re going to go about it our way and play our football.”