Emma Hayes has praised Drew Spence and the impact she has had both on and off the field after the midfielder recently reached 200 appearances for Chelsea FC Women.
Spence came on to make her 200th appearance for the Blues when she featured in our second-leg victory over Benfica. In doing so she became the first player in the modern era of Chelsea Women to reach the milestone.
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Hayes has worked with Spence since she become manager in 2012, and the Blues boss believes the midfielder has been hugely influential in the rise of Chelsea Women and our success over the last decade.
‘It’s an amazing achievement, it really is,’ Hayes said. ‘It’s so easy to just talk it off as another number but 200 appearances is incredible.
‘Drew for me is Chelsea. Everything we have done over the time I’ve been at the club and when I think of all the winning, Drew’s been instrumental in so much of that.
‘She knows what it is to play for Chelsea, she knows what it takes and she knows what it looks like.
‘She is someone who will go down in the history books in my opinion as a player who has been a real catalyst for Chelsea.
‘Her love for the club is deserving of those 200 appearances and I’m extremely proud of Drew for what she’s achieved in her career so far because not a lot of players have won what she’s won.
‘She’s witnessed Chelsea develop from an amateur club to a Champions League level club, she’s been through the growth of all of that and I think only Drew and Hannah [Blundell] knows how much work has gone into building Chelsea Women.'
As much as Hayes has pointed out how big a role Spence has played on the field, the Chelsea boss has also highlighted her importance off the field, and the significant impact she has had on her team-mates throughout her time at the club.
‘She understands football and our environment and I don’t know anyone who gets that more than her,’ Hayes added.
‘That’s important to have in a dressing room, to have someone who knows what winning has looked like here and she plays an important part in the harmony in the dressing room.
‘Drew is wise beyond her years, and she’s become more confident. She is always quite a soft-spoken, quiet person but she’s always been a bit of a joker in the dressing room.
‘I would describe Drew as someone who is really fair and balanced, she has a balanced perspective.
‘She’s a good listener and she’s a good friend for her team-mates.’