New signing Nikita Whinnett: Spurs Ladies were the only club that could give me real competition
Summer signing Nikita Whinnett says she joined Tottenham because it was the only club where she felt she would be pushed to compete for her place.
Whinnett has joined Spurs from Charlton, having been a losing finalist when Karen Hills’ Lilywhites lifted the Ryman Cup in April.
She scored 15 seconds into Sunday’s friendly against Women’s Super League Division Two outfit Watford, and then set up Tottenham’s other two goals in a 3-3 draw.
Whinnett said: “It feels amazing out there. I feel very privileged to be at Tottenham to be honest. After being told at Charlton ‘you’re a reserve player’, to be straight into the first team here, I feel good. I’m willing to work so hard.
“I’m hoping to bring a bit of experience as I’m a lot older than some of the youngsters who are coming through, so just a football mind really, a bit more experience on the ball and hopefully I can teach them a thing or two.
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“Hopefully I can bag a few goals as well, as that’s where Tottenham struggled last season - with goalscorers. If I can bring that as well then fantastic.
“I think it’s healthier for any player in any position to have competition. That’s why I came to Tottenham because I feel like it’s the only team that can challenge me for the position, without sounding big-headed! I want to be pushed. I don’t just want to stagnate, I want to get better.”
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Having opened the scoring in the opening seconds at Cheshunt, Whinnett set up Katie O’Leary, who doubled the lead in the sixth minute.
While Watford hit back just before the break, Whinnett laid on another goal for Kelley Blanchflower – but the Hornets hit back twice in a five-minute spell around the 70-minute mark, with Otesha Charles completing a hat-trick and securing a draw.
“It’s really important to try and link up with those girls,” said Whinnett of her fellow forwards. “At Charlton I was on the wing. It’s a bit different here - although I’m on the wing up front, it’s completely different positioning and linking up with the strikers is different.
“In the first two pre-season games [against Middlesbrough and Arsenal] I was still finding my feet, but the first 20 minutes here were fantastic from the three of us. We were dominant.
“I think it’s good that the team came off with the hump because we felt like we’d lost, even though we drew - but we had loads of positives.
“Watford are halfway through their season so for us to get the draw and to be leading the way we were was fantastic anyway. It’s just those 10 minutes in the heat.
“It’s important to keep your head up and keep going. It’s easy to be up and draw and then your heads go down, so I’m just glad we didn’t lose.
“If we want to be the best we have to play the best. To play Arsenal’s development side and Watford’s first team in this pre-season, that’s what we need to test us because if we can beat or match these teams then we can definitely take it to other teams in our league.”