Magdalena Eriksson has today been confirmed as the 2019/20 captain of Chelsea Women ahead of the Blues’ opening fixture of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge.
The Swedish defender has taken over the responsibility from Karen Carney, who announced her retirement after the World Cup, bringing an end to a wonderful club and international career.
Eriksson joined Chelsea in 2017 after a four-year spell at Linkopings in her native country. She is a natural leader and has captaincy experience having skippered her former team to a league title in 2016.
The 25-year-old has been a regular in Emma Hayes’ side since signing and in the 2018/19 season started more matches than any other player. A calm and disciplined player who can play anywhere along the back-line, she has an excellent left foot and scored one of Chelsea’s best goals of the season last year against Liverpool with a superb overhead kick.
The 2019 World Cup bronze medallist played a significant role in Sweden’s squad at the tournament, playing six out of the seven matches. She also played a part in the Swedes’ success at the Rio 2016 Olympic games when they clinched silver. They reached the quarter-final stage at 2017 Euros.
Eriksson will lead her side out for the first time this season on Sunday at Stamford Bridge for the Blues’ opening game of the season. It will be a special day for the Scandinavian who will also be celebrating her 26th birthday.
Millie Bright, who is Eriksson’s centre-back partner will remain as vice-captain after assisting Carney so well in her role last season.
Bright is also a key member of the Chelsea team and has been a part of both our domestic Doubles, plus the Spring Series triumph in 2017, and is a well-established player in the England squad.
Only three players started more matches than Bright last season and she took the armband on eight occasions.
The duo have a strong understanding at the heart of the Chelsea defence and have made 186 Chelsea appearances as a collective.
Manager Emma Hayes had a stiff task in selecting a new captain for the forthcoming season as she says her team has many leaders.
‘This is the first time I’ve had multiple leaders within the group so it’s extremely difficult to select a captain on that basis,’ said Hayes.
‘There are lots of players who can lead the team without wearing the armband but as I’ve realised more and more after Katie Chapman and Karen Carney, they are big shoes to fill and the responsibilities are not just on the pitch. I’ve taken my time to work through that.’
On the decision of making Eriksson her captain, Hayes said:
‘First of all it’s not a reflection on anybody else,but more the fact that Magda is most ready to lead the team in the season.
‘She’s maturing all of the time off of the pitch, she’s a good communicator, she’s not a afraid to tell people what they need to do. She’s honest and reflective and I think her alongside Millie will lead the team throughout the season.
‘I know that she is super proud and honoured to be given the armband and I think she will wear it the same level that those have prior to her.’
The first place you will be able read the thoughts of our new women’s captain Magdalena Eriksson is in the matchday programme for the game, which will be on sale at the ground on Sunday.
As well as Eriksson’s first captain’s column, the edition will also feature exclusive interviews with Bethany England, Drew Spence, Karen Carney, Katie Chapman plus there will be the thoughts of Emma Hayes and Bruce Buck ahead of the game. Pat Nevin, who was in France watching this summer’s Women’s World Cup, reviews a memorable tournament in the pages too.
The season opener promises to be a great day out for all the family. Entertainment kicks off at 10am at Eel Brook Common where the Chelsea Foundation Fan Zone plays host to free football coaching sessions, kicking challenges and skills zones for kids of all abilities. Meanwhile, outside the stadium, we have stilt walkers, face painters, football freestylers and a visit from the London Fire Brigade for photos. And in the run up to the 12.30pm kick off, enjoy an exclusive pitch-side DJ set from Capital FM’s Marvin Humes.