Interview

Emma Hayes hails unrivalled servant ahead of Chelsea Women’s West Ham game

Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes pays tribute to Drew Spence ahead of Sunday's game against West Ham, when we are celebrating the midfielder's 10 years as a first-teamer for the Blues.

 

Tickets are half-price for our Mother's Day final home WSL fixture of the 2018/19 season, which is also doubling up as a special occasion for our longest-serving player.

Having joined the club from neighbours Fulham in 2008, Spence made her debut in January of the following year when she came off the bench to score in an FA Cup win over Rotherham.

Since then she has remained part of the squad, going on to make 170 appearances and netting 38 times. The bulk of those have come under the tutelage of Hayes, who took the reins midway through 2012 and has since led the club to five major trophies, with Spence playing a pivotal role in our success.

'It's a marvellous achievement by Drew – 10 years at the top level, at one club, shows her dedication and desire,' said the manager. 'Her commitment to achieve for Chelsea has been relentless since I've been here.

'I've seen her grow as a player and a person into someone I believe should be a part of the England squad. She's got all the qualities I think you need for the top level and I'm disappointed she hasn't been given more opportunities.

- Try our Drew Spence quiz
 

'I've watched her grow and develop as a person,' confirmed Hayes. ‘We've watched the team come through all levels, and she's been at the heart of that. In Japan, we had a chat where a lot of things were said by me and my coaching staff which needed to be said. Afterwards, and I'm sure she won't mind me saying this now, she cried non-stop for about an hour.

'I wouldn't let her leave the room until she heard me, but it was a huge wake-up call for her and she responded in the right way. She responds well to me and I feel like a parent to her. We've been through a fair bit together in the time we've spent at this club. I've got nothing but good things to say about her.
 

'She's only 26 and she's survived great players coming to this club. I put Hannah Blundell into the same category, another young player we brought into the group early on in my time here.

'They're two who I've really backed, but also the two I've probably been hardest on. No question. I do say to them, “I'm not here to be popular.” And they know that. They've left the room at various times either in tears or rolling their eyes at me!'

With semi-finals to look forward to in both the FA Cup and Champions League next month, and plenty of winner's medals already in her collection, something tells us the 26-year-old doesn't mind the odd home truth from her manager.

Her best might be yet to come, but join us on Sunday to celebrate what has already been a wonderful decade as a Blue for Drew Spence.

 

- Click for Drew Spence shirts in our online store
 

MORE FROM CHELSEA