Tottenham Hotspur Women’s on-loan American forward Alex Morgan is starting to round into fitness after more than a year out of the game, but there have been bumps in the road along the way. Morgan, who came to the club on loan this summer in what was the biggest splash in the WSL transfer window by far, opted to join Tottenham in order to regain fitness and match sharpness ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, after having her first child last year.
But Morgan suffered a knee injury early in her Spurs tenure, which delayed her debut. It’s meant that she hasn’t seen much game time for Spurs thus far, and has been limited in her minutes. She has yet to score for Spurs, and Tottenham’s slow start resulted in the sacking of co-managers Karen Hills and Juan Amoros last month. There’s also an open question as to just how long Morgan will stay at Tottenham before returning States-side to rejoin her primary club Orlando Pride; her loan contract with Spurs is flexible, and there’s the possibility she could return home as soon as the end of December.
New manager Rehanne Skinner will lead Spurs out for her first match in charge tomorrow against Brighton & Hove Albion at the Hive, and when asked about the questions about Morgan’s loan said that she’s hoping a more definitive answer about Morgan’s loan will be forthcoming soon.
“I have not been with the team for long but those are conversations that need to be had as soon as possible. But we have to get this game up and running this weekend and start the league in the right way. Then, we will assess where we are with Alex, look at the future and see what that looks like for her with the club moving forward.
“She is obviously a fantastic character to have in the environment with her experience and she is definitely moving in the right direction now. She got 45 minutes away with the U.S. national team recently and we are just hoping to build on getting her back on track with that.
“In the coming weeks we are hoping to increase minutes and get her into the form she is accustomed to being in, but it has been a long break that we have to manage and be aware of. She is definitely heading in the right direction and has looked good in training this week.”
It would be a shame, after the huge amount of excitement generated by her signing this summer, if Morgan’s tenure at Spurs was limited to a handful of minutes and no real chances on goal. While it was always understood that Morgan would need some time to get back up to full fitness, she obviously hasn’t made the splash that most people hoped she would make in the WSL this season. She’s still an amazing player, even if she hasn’t quite shown it with Spurs, and having her depart at the end of the year without much on-pitch impact would be disappointing, if not entirely surprising.
As for Skinner, she’s hoping she can start her Spurs tenure with a win, something Spurs Women haven’t managed to accomplish so far this season. Skinner said that she’s trying to get her team to play with a little more freedom and confidence going forward, with hopes that it will translate into goals and wins.
“We’ve got to start to play with a little bit of freedom in possession and trust that actually, we’ve got very good players on the pitch and they’re capable of playing at a high level as long as they trust in their ability to do that. Ultimately, if we’re not prepared to get on the ball and not prepared to look to play forward and be a little bit more threatening, then it’s always going to be more of a challenge.
“I’m talking to the players a lot about having that self-belief, getting on the ball as much as possible, making sure that we work as hard as we can for each other, to then give us that little bit of confidence to be even more threatening. From an out of possession side of things, I’m a strong work ethic person. Ultimately, the players have got to work really hard to make sure that we start to make it difficult for teams to play through us.
“We’re hoping to just get those little messages across going into this weekend.”
Tottenham kick off against Brighton Sunday at 9:00 a.m. ET, 2:00 p.m. BST at The Hive. The match is streamed for free on The FA Player.