World Cup winner Abby Dahlkemper is hoping her time at Manchester City can also benefit her at international level.
The 27-year-old USA defender signed for the Barclays FA Women’s Super League team on a two-and-a-half year contract from NWSL side North Carolina Courage last month.
Dahlkemper was an integral part of the United States’ 2019 World Cup win, where she started every game of the campaign, and she has followed US team-mates Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle by joining City.
The defender believes she was in need of a change, having been at Courage since 2017, and is convinced that Manchester is the ideal place for her game to develop.
“I am going to relish this opportunity to experience Europe and I really want to be a part of this team for a while and to get to experience everything,” Dahlkemper said.
“I think I’m going to grow throughout these years - I wanted something different and a change.
“To be able to experience this for two-and-a-half years is just going to benefit me on and off the field and I’m really happy and hoping to win championships with this team. I think we can do that.
“There’s definitely a winning mentality here - you need to have that to have success as a team and this team wants to do big things.
“We set standards and expectations high and we don’t let ourselves get under those thresholds. From top to bottom, this team is so talented with top internationals.
“Every day you’re going to get challenged and every day you have to prove it and earn your right to play and perform.
“Hopefully I can help the team grow and I know that the team is going to help me grow in a positive way.”
It looks set to be a busy year for Dahlkemper balancing playing at City alongside representing her national side.
Vlatko Andonovski was appointed as head coach of the US women’s national team in October 2019 and has implemented a system that involves the centre-backs creating chances and playing out from the back.
And Dahlkemper believes the style of play at Manchester City and in the national team go hand in hand.
“I think the way City plays, the goalkeeper and centre-backs are setting a lot of the play – that was attractive to me,” she said.
“The possession and value of that was different from what I was used to and it’s looking at a new way of playing and new opportunities.
“The technical and tactical awareness that the centre-backs are required to have here at City and on the United States team is very similar.
“We’re not just defenders anymore, we’re setting play from the back and we need to make the right decisions and play the right balls in depending on the other team’s play and what spaces we can take advantage of.”
The World Cup winner made her City debut at the weekend where she started in a 4-0 victory over West Ham and she was relieved to finally get on the pitch.
Dahlkemper added: “It was exciting to be able to take to the field with my team-mates and to represent Man City for the first time was special.
“To get a 4-0 win and keep a clean sheet was really important and a dream come true.”