“Alex is intense in terms of wanting to improve, she’s really highly demanding in that she wants to have information she can use against the opposition, but she has a wonderful way of separating the player and the person.”
Tottenham will hope that Morgan’s drive to improve will lift a side that only achieved top division football in 2018. Head coach Karen Hills has been leading Tottenham since they were languishing in the fifth tier, and in nine years working with co-coach Juan Amoros has literally driven the team bus around the country to get them to the level they are now.
It will be a culture shock for Morgan, but she will have known all about Tottenham’s limitations given two of her Orlando team-mates – Shelina Zadorsky and Alanna Kennedy – were already on loan in north London. This new chapter at Tottenham is a marker of her unending ambition. With a newborn baby girl, Charlie, in tow, and husband Orlando City footballer Servando Carrasco back in the States, this “spontaneous” loan move – as she has described it – was no small decision. She has not played for nearly a year due to injury and pregnancy, and to Morgan the best place to get back to her best ahead of the Olympics next summer is the WSL – especially considering the pandemic has depleted the NWSL’s fixture lists.
US Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone says she was unsurprised by the striker’s choice of a mid-table club like Tottenham, as it is a place she can really grow. In 2013 the former USWNT player was coaching Morgan at NWSL side Portland, and what stood out to her – beyond the goals – was her ability to shoulder and absorb pressure for the rest of the team.
“When I was playing, Mia Hamm got a lot of the media and the pressure – she was kind of the umbrella for the entire team, and she protected us,” she says. “And when I coached Portland, it was the same for Alex. To watch that from a different perspective, when I wasn’t actually a player, it was really interesting to see her navigate at such a young age all of that pressure and attention – and do such a good job of it.”
Tottenham may well put that to use today [SUN], in facing City. For her new club to max out on their investment, in the one-season maximum she is expected to remain in north London, Skinner says the key is simple: keep calm and get her the ball in the box.
“Alex is a predator in the box,” he says. “So if you can absorb the fact you’re playing with Alex Morgan and just put the ball right where you need to, with a talent like her you have a real chance to be successful.”