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Dream Team: Helen Ward selects her fantasy XI

Goalkeeper

Marie Hourihan – Chelsea

I have played with Marie since I was about 15. She is one of the hardest-working players that I have had the pleasure of working with. She’s had a lot of setbacks in her career in terms of injuries but she always comes back fighting and it proves how good she is.

Right-back

Loren Dykes – Bristol Academy

I have played with Loren for Wales and she originally started as a winger.

She gets up the pitch brilliantly and defends well. She is a great player but you can tell she wants to get forward!

Left-back

Claire Rafferty – Chelsea

Claire proved how good a player she was at the World Cup. She is great in defence and attack, and her best asset is the attacking threat she poses – it’s like having another winger at times. She is a great fighter as well, she never gives up.

Centre-backs

Kylie Davis – Reading

Kylie is unbelievable. People think she is not tall enough as a centre-back but she proves time and again that she is a great defender. She puts   her entire body on the line for whatever team she is playing for.             She would also probably be my captain as she is such a hard worker.

Ciara Grant – Retired

I played with Ciara at Arsenal and she made defending look effortless. She won everything in the air. She may not have had as much pace as people would like to see but she was great with her positional work and leadership.

Central midfielders

Jess Fishlock – Seattle Reign

Jess’ record speaks for itself. She will find ways of creating chances and scoring goals, she is a good runner and will make things happen in a game no matter what.

Kim Little – Seattle Reign

Kim and Jess form a midfielder partnership for Seattle so they can for my team! Kim is fantastic on the ball and she can certainly finish when given the chance. I would say she is one of the best players in the world at the moment.

RIGHT wing

Natasha Harding – Manchester City

Tash has improved massively. She works extremely hard in every aspect of her game. She has recently signed with one of the biggest teams so it shows how highly she is valued in the game and how talented she is.

Left wing

Rachel Yankey – Arsenal

Rachel is able to pass the ball for fun and she whips in crosses during games like no one else and works extremely hard. I think the longevity of her career is a testament to her. She is one of the leaders in women’s football as she has been there since the start. The way she is with other players and the fans is great; she is so humble given how great she is.

Strikers

Ellen Maggs – Retired

I played with Ellen at Watford. The amount of goals she scored and put on for me was incredible. She had great movement and that made my two seasons alongside her really enjoyable. She is something else; she didn’t have as long as a career as she could have but she was phenomenal.

Kelly Smith – Arsenal

I didn’t play with Kelly for long at Arsenal but it was a pleasure. The amount of times she looks like she is in trouble when, actually, she isn’t speaks for itself. She is an amazing player and an amazing talent.­

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