Chelsea Women’s goalkeeper Carly Telford has extended her contract until 2021 and we have her reaction to the news.
The goalkeeper re-joined Chelsea in 2017 after an earlier two-year spell at the club, and provided important competition to Hedvig Lindahl as we won the WSL and Women’s FA Cup last season.
The 31-year-old from Newcastle has featured often during the current campaign as we have again fought on four fronts, and she has now extended her current deal until the end of the 2020/21 season.
After putting pen to paper, Telford sat down with the official Chelsea website to discuss the news and her aspirations for the future…
When did you hear about the possibility of getting offered a new contract?
It was around December time when my agent contacted me and told me that Chelsea would like to sit down with me and talk to me about a new deal. I was made up because my deal was up this summer and the earlier you get things done, especially with the World Cup coming up, the better.
I didn’t want to leave it that late and I guess I just wanted to know myself whether the club wanted me to stay or not. Once they said they was interested in signing me, then I was happy and said I would love to stay.
Did you have anything thoughts about moving on or was Chelsea always where you wanted to be?
It’s hard being a goalkeeper because I could go to a lot of clubs and play every week, but for me it comes to a bigger thing which is the coaching. There isn’t a guarantee that you are going to get coached well as a goalkeeper. Not a lot of clubs have good goalkeeping coaches or have goalkeeping coaches. I didn’t have one at Notts County for three years so to come here and work with Stuart Searle, who for me is one of the best goalkeeping coaches in England, if not Europe, I love it.
He pushes me, he wants me to be better and in my personal opinion he has made me better within the last two years and helped me go further in those two years than the last six or seven before that. Of course I want to play every week like most people do, but there’s also part of me that wants to become a better goalkeeper. I will get opportunities and it’s about taking them now. The fact that they’ve shown interest in me and want me to stay for another two years tells me there is a pathway here for me to play and for me to become a better goalkeeper.
Is the ultimate goal now for you to take your opportunities and cement your place as number one?
Of course. We all love training but at the end of the day, we train to play. It’s no good just sitting here and training all the time and not getting anywhere. I am in a very privileged position where there is a World Cup coming up, potentially an Olympics and a home European Championships, and to be included in all those things and to be playing in all those things, I have to be playing at club level.
For me, it’s about working hard and working harder than I have ever done before and learning from Hedvig and Ann but making sure I’m beating them in all aspects and areas. I need to make sure I am on that pitch and when Emma and Paul sit down to make their team choices on a weekly basis I am the first one down on the sheet.
I think I’ve worked very hard over the past year to put Emma and Paul in some difficult positions and unfortunately last year didn’t help with some personal things going on for me which meant I had to spend time away from the club more than I wanted. After dealing with that, the club have become second family to me and another reason why I love being here. I can’t thank them enough for the support they have given me, and I feel like I owe them a great deal of gratitude for what they have done for me. Now I want to give everything I can back to this club to thank them for that.
The new contract shows the belief that Emma has in you – that must also give you more determination to nail down that number one spot?
Emma is an out and out winner – it doesn’t matter who you are, whether she has known you for five, 10 years, one year, one month – if you are not part of what she sees as a winning team, she will have you moving on to the next one. She putting her trust in me and saying we believe in you and we believe you are going to take this club in the right direction is huge for me.
Emma is one of the best coaches in the world and for her to say ‘we’d like you to stay here another two years and work with us to help this team achieve championships and Champions League and FA Cups’, it’s where you want to be. You want to feel trusted, you want to feel a bit loved, and we all do! And I feel like getting offered a new deal definitely does that.
Looking now to life on the pitch, what are your hopes for the final stages of this season?
It hasn’t been a great or a perfect season for us. You look at last year and so many things went right for us and so it’s probably hard to replicate that again. I think once you’ve done that, you expect to be able to do it again but you forget that everyone goes away in the summer and says Chelsea are the team we need to beat.
Everyone comes into the season wanting to beat the champions and so it’s not that we did anything different, it’s maybe that other teams have upped their game and also a lot of teams who were part-time last year have gone away and become full-time clubs. Teams went out and bought new players to strengthen their squads. We have had a turbulent season but you look at it and there is still a chance of us bettering last season. We may not win the league but for us there is still good opportunities for us to win trophies. We’ve got to take each game as it comes now and hopefully we can put ourselves in the best position.
Looking a little further ahead, we have the World Cup coming up in France in the summer with a lot of possible Chelsea representation!
The amount of games we’ve had at club level, you sort of forget that it’s coming up! The way the World Cup has been built up – I know what it was like in Canada, and what it was like in the last Euros and I think this is going to be even bigger again!
Every time you come back from an international break and into the dressing rooms here, you forget that there is most of your opposition sat in there with you! There is lots of banter flying around in the changing rooms but I think the main thing is that we all hope to get through the season happy and healthy playing some of the best football for Chelsea leading up to the World Cup.