Derby County Ladies Football Club

Proud moment for Hannah Ward as she is named Derby County Ladies captain

Derby County Ladies Manager John Bennett has handed the Ewe Rams captaincy to long standing player Hannah Ward for the upcoming 2017/18 FA Women’s Premier League season.

Having been a part of the senior team for 10 years, Hannah takes over the captaincy from the recently departed Melissa Johnson and Bennett feels that ‘Wardy’ was the standout candidate amongst the squad.

Bennett said “Hannah has been a brilliant ambassador at the club and has the black and white running through her veins. She is well respected amongst the squad and by other teams across the league and is not afraid to say what she thinks.

“The squad has changed a lot over the past two years, but ‘Wardy’ has been one of the consistent voices and performers and I know she will give 110% in everything that she does, whether it is on the pitch or digging in off the pitch.

“She will be the link between the squad and myself and I know that she will be honest and not mince her words if something needs to be said. I’m proud that Hannah will be my captain, as are a lot of people at this club and I know they’ll all be behind her from the start.”

Having come through the Junior ranks of the club and played in each season that the club has been in the FA Women’s Premier League, Hannah is a proud Ewe Ram and can’t wait for the season to get started.

Hannah said “It is a great honour to have been asked by JB to captain the team this season. I have been at the club for just over 10 years and I have always dreamed of one day leading the club.

“I am very proud that JB thinks I can do that for him this season. The First Team have had some great captains previously so I hope I can compare to something near their level with this opportunity.

“To be able to be a consistent presence at Derby since I joined and to play for a team and club which are always striving to improve and get to the highest level possible makes me very proud. Not many players stay with one club for the duration of their career but Derby look to bring their youth players up into the senior teams and give them their opportunities when the time is right.

“There have been a number of players that I have grown up with that have played at Derby for a long time and I think that’s a credit to the club because they appreciate commitment and what players give to play for them.

“I hope I can lead the team and be someone to inspire and set standards for my team mates like others have before me. During my time I’ve had players such as Leanne Beet, Jenny Simpson (Bart), Lorna Abbey, Samantha Griffiths and Emily Jeffery, that have been key to what we have achieved. Whether they were wearing the arm band or not, they always played for the badge and were players I looked to for inspiration and people I would call role models and leaders. I hope I have learnt from them well and can do them proud.”

Asked what she thinks she can bring to the role, what are her expectations for the season and  what Manager John Bennett has asked of her, Hannah told DCLFC Media that she is confident in  her ability and the club’s to follow the mantra set out by the club.

“The key this season will be consistency in our performances, which unfortunately hasn’t been our strongest point historically. We are working hard in training and don’t plan on letting the standards drop at any point of the season but we know how long it is and how important each game is but I think we have the quality and the coaching staff to finish higher than we ever have before.

“I think being captain is quite an important role within the team so I will be trying to ensure I’m doing as much as I can to fulfil it. I think my role is to be someone players can look to to inspire them during games and be an important influence on matches. I also want to be a role model to others, not just the players in the First Team but the younger generation too and I hope I show them what it means to be a Derby player and wear the badge.

“I think with the number of signings we have made and the players we have lost it is crucial that we feel as though we are a team and have good group cohesion, I want everyone to feel as though Derby is their family because that’s how I feel especially since playing for the First Team.

“I also see my role as ensuring not only do I personally have a good relationship with all of the coaching staff but also the other players have one too. When the season gets tough I think the relationships we all have with one another will help us get through the tricky times and be able to rely on one another.

“However, as much as I think a captain is important I also think it is crucial that we have more than one leader on the pitch. Unfortunately, due to long term injuries we have lost some leaders from our squad and I will be hoping that long term Derby players and some new recruits can step up into those roles and aim to have eleven leaders on the pitch at once.

“I think JB (Bennett) wants me to be someone he can count on and look to for support, I think it bodes well for the team when the Manager and captain have a strong relationship and can help each other out. He does not want me to do too much differently to what I have done in previous seasons.

“He wants my usual commitment levels on and off the pitch for the team and club, effort and desire in training sessions to always stake a claim for a starting place at the weekends and look to improve as an individual and team. He wants me to keep communicating on and off the pitch to all of the players and hopefully be someone the players can talk to and be that bridge between players and staff if needs be. 

You can see Hannah lead out the team as captain for the first time this Sunday as the season kick-off with a trip to Stoke City Ladies.