Aniek Nouwen will join up with her new team-mates ahead of the 2021/2022 campaign and today the Dutch international speaks about her decision to join the Blues, her footballing idols and what she hopes to learn from Emma Hayes…
Why did you choose Chelsea?
The first conversation felt really nice and also the English competition has been a dream for me. Together that was a great decision.
Do you know any of the Chelsea squad already?
Not personally, only by name and watching the games.
Have you watched a lot of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League?
This season I have started watching some games, and recently a lot more.
Has the growth in the women’s game here in England played a role in your decision to come here?
Yes, I think it is the best competition, I feel it is the best place for me to play my football and develop even more.
How would you describe yourself as a player?
I’m a central defender, either on the left or the right. I’m a physical player, strong, fast and can make a good pass.
You are only 22 years old, why did you decide to make the move now?
I’m still very young but I’ve played for PSV Eindhoven for five years and I think now is the right time to go out and develop more. It was time to leave and I’m ready for a new challenge.
When did you start playing football?
I’ve always played football. It was always football, never any other sports. I started playing when I was six and I started playing because I watched my older brother playing. I said to my parents I want to do the same and that’s where it started.
Did you admire any players when you were growing up?
When I was young there was a player at PSV who was my idol. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, he was a Dutch striker and when I think of now, with me being a defender, I’m a bit like Matthijs de Ligt.
Have you been watching our games?
I've seen the game against Manchester City and I also watched the Champions League semi-final. They look really great and they play like a good oiled machine! It looks quite easy how they all play together.
Is there anyone in particular you are looking forward to playing with?
I’m looking forward to playing with everyone in the squad. I want to develop myself and Magda Eriksson and Millie Bright have a lot of experience, so I hope to learn from them.
Are you looking forward to meeting up with your teammates in pre-season?
With the national squad, we have the Olympics so I hope I will be there first and then joining up with the squad in August. I’m really excited. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s all going to be new, but I’m really excited for that.
What has Emma said to you and what have you made of her so far?
She is a really nice person. She was also interested in the person I am behind my football and I like that. It’s not only about football, it’s also about other things.
What do you think she can help you with?
I’m a relaxed person and more in the background but maybe she can help me with coming a little out of that, bring me out of my comfort zone and help be become more of a leader.
Are you hoping this move can help you personally?
It’s a good step for me to become more mature. I will live on my own and I think it’s a good step for me and will help me learn a lot and new things.
What do you hope to achieve with Chelsea?
Personally, I hope I can develop myself and of course I want to win prizes and play big games. That’s what everyone wants.
Will you be watching the Champions League final!?
For sure, I’ll definitely be watching!