Three years ago today, Chelsea FC Women goalkeeper Carly Telford re-joined the club, having previously played for the Blues between 2011 and 2013 and we spoke to her about her time at the club thus far…
Telford was brought into the club on a short-term deal ahead of the FA WSL Spring Series – a mini-season to transition the WSL from a summer to winter league – to stand in for Hedvig Lindahl, who was injured at the time.
The keeper helped us lift the trophy after conceding only three times in the shortened league campaign. A long-term contract was more than merited and since returning to the club she has provided important competition in the goalkeeping position.
The 32-year-old, who is a Blue until the 2020/21 season, spoke to the official Chelsea website to discuss her best memory at the club, her personal development and her future aspirations…
Three years ago today you re-signed for Chelsea! What’s been your highlights in this second spell?
I think when we did the Double. That was pretty cool, we had a good run in the Champions League, we had some amazing results and then we went on to win the Double which was my first full season even though we had won the Spring Series.
Helping the club reach that point was pretty amazing and having lost my mum, she got to see me do that, which was very special. You spend your whole career trying to win trophies, I have been close on a couple of times but never actually been able to do it so that definitely my highlight so far – it was really special.
You came in and helped Chelsea to the Spring Series, did you expect to still be at Chelsea three years on?
No not at all if I’m honest, I was brought in to plug a hole as such. We had Vigs [Hedvig Lindahl], Spenny [Becky Spencer] and Fran [Kitching] at the time, three very good goalkeeper and if I’m honest I couldn’t see where I would fit with those three being so good.
I just thought it was an opportunity to do well and I just hoped that I would do well for Chelsea so they would want to sign me or that another club would want to sign me because at that time I was a free agent. When we came to the end of the Spring Series and won it we were able to sit down and have a conversation about potentially signing me again.
I was over the moon to be signed again because Emma [Hayes] was obviously the one who signed me in the first place, so the fact she could see that I had gone away and matured to become a better player and person, to be in her future plans was nice. And here we are now three years down the line with a couple of trophies in the bag.
I think I have played more games in the past three years than I have done in any other time in my career so it’s been a blessing for me and hopefully for the club to have me.
As you said Emma released you for the first time, was it nerve-wracking coming back or did it give you determination to prove yourself?
Yeah definitely but at the same time there was no pressure. I knew all I was going in goal for was five or six games. I wanted to perform well, for any sports person when you get doubted or maybe someone doesn’t see something in you, you always want to prove that person wrong whether that’s a manager, player, coach or fan.
I don’t think at the time when Emma released me that she didn’t believe in me but in that moment of time she didn’t see me in her plans because maybe I wasn’t in the right place of my career to help the team at that point.
How do you think your game has developed over the years from your first spell to now?
One of the main things is that I’m a lot more injury-free. I had to work hard on my physicality, I spent a lot of my younger age probably a season on, a season off in terms of injuries. It does interrupt what you class as form and all the best players playing at the minute have a really good spell of no injuries and they can get a really good repetition in training and feel good.
I have also improved by just learning, you get better by playing in international and good team sides. I get to play alongside some really amazing people and players and I think those players without even knowing it help you mature. And when you get older you have to become that mature player who starts to look after the younger ones. Playing at international level really helps you mature and I got to that at a very young age and it helps you go on further.
I haven’t had the easiest career in terms of disappointments. I made my debut for England at 18 and didn’t play for a long time. I had to listen to the people around me whether that’s the managers, coaches, family and I had to ask myself if I was doing the right things to allow me to achieve what I want. Those sort of things really helped me mature throughout my career.
When I re-signed for Chelsea in the Spring Series, I think Emma was able to see a lot of the things that maybe put doubts in her mind about who I was as a person and a player were put to rest quite quickly. Luckily I was the right piece of the puzzle to fit into Chelsea at the time.
Lastly, is this current Chelsea squad the best you’ve been a part of?
So far I’d say so, but it’s hard to say when we haven’t got to the end of season. All of the components feels right, the squad depth is fantastic and whatever XI we put out are competitive and win games, so in that respect yes. It’s two different teams but if we go on and achieve what we can and win the Treble then undoubtedly this is the best team that I’ve ever been part of.
For me I think we will go and do it when the season returns, if the season returns, we will go on and achieve that. The season up to the Conti Cup point has been unbelievable, we’re unbeaten, we’ve already got one trophy in the bag and if we sit here at the end of the season and have all three trophies then I will undoubtedly say this is the best squad that I’ve ever been part.
The potential is there to be the best squad because even having the quality of Sam Kerr and she’s only been with us for three or four weeks because of internationals. On paper we’ve got some magnificent players, Fran [Kirby] has barely played a part this season so that just shows how good the squad is but it’s about getting across that white line and doing what matters to this club and that’s winning trophies.
You can hear from Emma Hayes here