RUBY MACE reckons it is ‘crazy’ that she could one day be playing alongside her childhood idol Steph Houghton.
And the versatile Manchester City centre-back is eager to prove herself following her high profile move north from Arsenal this summer.
And the former Gunners starlet, who some have talked of as being the next Houghton, admits the long-serving City captain is a player she hopes to emulate.
Mace, who is 18, said: “I've idolised Steph since I was younger.
She has always been someone I've admired, especially when watching the Arsenal matches when she used to play for them and England matches.
“Steph is always someone that I wanted to be like (on the pitch) so having her in and around me right now is crazy.
“I used to sit down with my family and watch her in games and she’s someone that my parents said that I should look up to.
“I haven't spoken much to Steph yet but she has given me advice. With her being injured at the moment I don't want to disturb her rehab.”
Mace, who began her football career in Arsenal’s academy, also competed as a sprint hurdler for her school at county level.
The defender, who can also play in midfield, earned plaudits for eye-catching Birmingham performances whilst on loan there from the Gunners last term.
The East London-born starlet, who did some of her training at Hale End with Arsenal’s under-15 boys’ side, netted two goals in 11 top-flight appearances helping Brum to beat relegation.
The Man City centre-back, who hopes to help England Under-19s win the Uefa Women's Under-19 Euros next year, is yet to make her WSL debut for Gareth Taylor’s team.
But she is eager to play her way into contention after impressing in the club’s 5-1 and 3-0 Continental Cup match wins against Everton and Durham this term.
Mace added: “I want to improve as a player and – when I get my chance – prove that I'm good enough to be here and that I am willing to work hard and show my ability to everyone.
“If I get the chance to perform in the matches where I can be a part of this season's Conti Cup and FA Cup, I will do my best to help the team.
"When I was looking to move to the club I had a look at who had come through their academy.
"Many players have come through and I've seen the development work Manchester City put in with players like Jess Park.
"That's something that I wanted to be a part of. I want to be in and around the best players as training with the best is going to help me develop the most."
City, who hope to pick up their first win in the top-tier since their 4-0 demolition of Everton look set to be without Khadija Shaw with the striker recovering from a painful foot injury.
Meanwhile, Leicester will be without the services of Hannah Cain with the forward ruled out for the rest of the season after rupturing her ACL
Jonathan Morgan is confident his side will eventually pick up points following five losses from their first five games in the league.
The Foxes boss said: "The points will come when they come. We’re not putting ourselves under any pressure.
"A season isn’t defined by the first quarter. Our aim is to stay up and get more points than the bottom team."
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