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Alex Morgan to leave Tottenham Women for NWSL return in January

Morgan’s time in North London has come to an end.

Tottenham Hotspur Women v Aston Villa Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Visionhaus

Alex Morgan’s time at Tottenham Hotspur Women is over. The club announced today that the American superstar forward is returning to the United States to rejoin her club Orlando Pride this month ahead of the start of the new NWSL season, after a few months of training and matches with Spurs.

It means that Tottenham’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa, a match that saw Morgan earn and convert a penalty and set up a second Spurs goal, was her last in a Spurs shirt. Sunday’s match against Chelsea, which was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the Chelsea players and staff, would have provided one final opportunity to see her play in the WSL. Tottenham Women’s next match isn’t until January 10, 2021 against Birmingham at The Hive.

Spurs Women Head of Football Heather Cowan said this in a statement on Spurs’ website:

“We were delighted at the start of the season when Alex chose us as her Club to help regain fitness and take her first steps back into competitive football after giving birth earlier this year.

“It has been a pleasure to have Alex with us during this period and the whole squad has taken a lot from working every day with someone at the top of the women’s game.

“We wish Alex all the best for the future both at club and international level as she prepares to return back home with her family. She will always be welcome here at Spurs.”

It’s tempting to look at Morgan’s short tenure at Spurs to be something of a disappointment. While Morgan was always going to be a fitness project at Tottenham — she hadn’t played football in over a year after giving birth to her first child Charlie earlier in 2020 — her progress was derailed slightly by a minor knee injury and it meant that her match time was limited. Morgan’s legion of fans had to wait what felt like an interminable length of time for her to make an appearance at all, and she didn’t play a full 90 minutes in the WSL until the Villa match. Her final tally for Spurs in the league amounted to two goals, both penalties.

However, the intangibles could make a huge difference going forward. Morgan’s decision to join Spurs — a newly promoted club and not one that was expected to compete for the WSL title — was seen as transformative, even though it was temporary. Morgan drew tons of eyeballs to Tottenham Hotspur Women, and perhaps it is part of a renaissance for Spurs Women in the future. They still have Morgan’s Orlando teammates Alanna Kennedy and Shelina Zadorsky at the club through the end of the season and possibly longer. Maybe, just maybe, Morgan’s loan might convince other top players that Tottenham Hotspur Women is a club with ambition.

I wish we had seen more of Morgan at Tottenham, but I also know she’ll always be considered part of the Spurs family. And it sure was fun to see one of the best and most famous players in world football wearing the shirt of the club I love.

And that’s the tea.