Jess Carter has committed to Chelsea Women by extending her contract until 2022 and the Blues defender has outlined her ambitions for the future.
Carter impressed during the latter stages of last season, producing solid performances at right-back to help the Blues clinch the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and reach the Champions League final for the first time in our history.
After putting pen-to-paper on her new deal, the 23-year-old speaks about her role in last season’s achievements, her hopes for the 2021/22 season and her personal ambitions for the future…
What does this contract extension mean to you?
I’m really grateful to have been offered new contract. I’m excited to see what we can go on and achieve after this successful year.
You signed for the club in 2018, how do you reflect on the last three years?
It’s been a crazy three years. There have been the highest of highs and the lowest of lows for me personally, but I know that I’ve grown so much here at this club, both on and off the pitch. I’ve hit a point now where I know what is expected of me, I know what I need to bring to the table, and I feel like I’m in a position now where I’m finally starting to compete with some of the girls. There is more that I can do here at Chelsea to help the team.
Emma Hayes spoke about you working hard on different aspects of your game to ensure you were at the levels to compete – can you talk us through what you did to make sure you were ready when called upon?
I worked a lot with the nutritionist to get that side of things right, because that has been one of the hardest things. There are other bits like the prehab and recovery, making sure all of that is right first then I’ve been working hard in training, doing what has been asked of me to ensure that when I’m called upon, I’m ready. You don’t often get a second chance in these big games, so you have to be ready for that chance that you do get.
Now you have had some time away from football since the end of the campaign, what are your thoughts on last season’s achievements?
It was a great season. We won the League, the Continental League Cup, we are also in the next round of the FA Cup and getting to the final of the Champions League was a huge achievement. Of course, we were devasted that we went out the way we did in the final but to get there in the first place and to have beat the teams we did to get there, it was an incredible achievement and it’s made everyone realise what we need to do to get that little bit further and actually win the Champions League.
Towards the second half of the season, you got a lot more playing time at right-back, what did you learn during that period?
I was able to compete with some of the best. In some of the games, in my opinion, I came up against some of the best wingers in the world, whether that be Caroline Graham Hansen or Lauren Hemp, they are incredible players.
Looking ahead to next season – pre-season is due to start in July, what will you be doing to ensure you are ready for the return to football?
We all get individual programmes throughout the summer break so I will be doing that and other extra bits. I’m not trying to burn myself out before I get to pre-season but I’m hoping to go back into pre-season in a good shape so I’m not starting off and playing catch up. For me, nutrition is the area that I struggle most with so I’m hugely focusing on that, sticking to the programme and hopefully that’s enough for me to come into pre-season in good shape.
What will the team be aiming for next season?
At Chelsea, we want to win everything and that won’t change. We want to win the League again, the Continental Cup, this year’s FA Cup, next year’s FA Cup and the Champions League. Our ultimate goal is the Champions League, but we won’t put any of the cups aside because we want to win every trophy.
For you personally, what are you hoping to achieve?
My goal is to try and get a consistent starting position in the team. I’ve not had that since being at Chelsea. I’ve not been one of the first names on the team sheet and I want to be starting the season the way I ended it, with being on the team sheet. That’s my ultimate goal firstly and then after that I want to get back into the England set up and try to become an international consistent player but I’ve got to focus on my club football first because without performing at the club I won’t be able to get in at England, so they are my two goals for next season.