Winning the Spring Series, earning a place in the WSL 1, coupled with signing a full-time professional deal, life has been good for Megan Finnigan.
The Everton Ladies midfielder isn’t resting on her laurels, however, and revealed her ambition to consolidate with the Blue Girls this season and represent the Lionesses in the future – in an exclusive interview with The Sophist.
It was ten years ago when Everton were first made aware of her talents, ultimately resulting in Finnigan developing in the Merseysiders’ academy. She explained: “I was initially spotted by Everton when I was nine. I was playing for my local boys team and my manager arranged for an Everton scout to watch me.
“I went on to trials and got accepted into the u10s Centre of Excellence and have gradually moved up the ranks ever since, including moving into the first-team when I was 16 years old.”
Finnigan featured heavily as Everton won the Spring Series last summer, and has since been a regular in WSL 1 this season with 11 appearances under her belt. She called the last two years of her Everton career “fantastic”.
“My time at Everton so far has been fantastic, but particularly the last two seasons because I’ve come out of my shell and get the opportunity to train and play full time in WSL1. I think it’s definitely the right place for my game to develop,” the midfielder said.
“I’m lucky I’m only 19 and can focus on playing football professionally, as that has always been the dream. Winning the Spring Series was a fond memory; my first bit of silverware for the club.
“I’ve had quite a lot of game time this year and I’m enjoying challenging myself in a midfield role this season. I definitely have a big attachment to Everton because they’ve done a lot for me in 10 years and made me into the player I am today.”
And while Everton may be at the wrong end of the WSL 1 table this season, Finnigan believes the squad have adapted well to the step-up in quality and says just a handful of good results could dramatically change their situation.
She added: “If you’re looking solely at the league table, yes, it suggests our first season has been a struggle in WSL1. However, I think we have adapted really well given it’s our first season back in the top flight.”
“For a young team, our performance levels have been consistently high. We are playing against some of the best teams in Europe with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, and I think we have given them really tough games and probably deserved some points from them.
“We are a hard-working team, and I think most sides know that we will give them a good game regardless of the result. The second half of the season is now underway and we want to take these good performances and momentum and turn them into wins.
Everton are currently ninth in the WSL 1 with six points from eight games this season, but their form has picked up recently. The Blue Girls have won two of their last four league outings, beating Yeovil Town and Sunderland, while also seeing past Bristol City in Sunday’s FA Cup clash.
One win could see Everton move three places up the table, and Finnigan is optimistic that her side can start to make up the ground on Reading, Sunderland and Bristol City. She said: “It’s really tight from mid-table to the bottom so a good few results could see us shoot up the table.”
And assuming Everton secure their WSL 1 status, the next step for the 19-year-old will be earning an England call-up. Finnigan’s already represented the Young Lionesses on many occasions, and revealed her dream to play for the first-team.
“My main ambition is to play for the seniors one day,” she admitted. “I have a lot of youth experience for England now but ultimately (first-team football) is the aim. We have an u20 World Cup this summer in France and hope to go there and do really well. Fingers crossed we come back with some silverware.
“From then on, however, my youth days as an international will be over and it’s about me making the transition into the seniors. I would also love to win some silverware with Everton. We kicked off our FA Cup campaign last week with a win, and historically it’s a competition the club have impressed in, so it would be lovely if the team could go all the way to Wembley.”
Massive thanks to Megan Finnigan for speaking to The Sophist. We wish her, Everton and the Young Lionesses all the best this season.