Petrovic: I thrive on the "massive honour" of skippering Villa Ladies
Dani Petrovic admits she thrives on the "massive honour" of being Villa Ladies skipper.
Petrovic has been with Villa Ladies for five seasons and has been captain for three of those, showing perfectly her popularity in camp and her remarkable leadership qualities.
For some, the pressure of skippering a side would be a burden but Petrovic says it's something that pushes her on, week after week.
She said: "I am very proud of my role. I enjoy the responsibility it brings. I have held it at other clubs too. I thrive on it.
"I like to lead by example and lead from the front. It's a tremendous honour.
"I have read players in the past say that their game has suffered as a result of being made skipper but it has the opposite effect with me.
"I like to lead by his performances on the pitch. If you give your all and play well it stirs others too. That's especially true when times are tough, if you're losing or not playing so well as a team.
"I am the one who likes to step it up. I see the captaincy role being about how you play rather than screaming and shouting. It's about my performance.
"But if something needs saying or we need a bit of a shake-up I am not afraid to speak up.
"I really do love being captain and all the girls are fantastic to play alongside. We've all in it together and we have been since we won the title in 2010-11.
"We have some great youngsters coming through too and I am really excited about things."
She admits that lifting the trophy at the end of the season would be an "unreal" experience.
She continued: "It was a really good achievement finishing third last time out. When we've been promoted to this division before, we've always gone straight back down.
"Initially we just wanted to survive but then we got just past Christmas and realised we could actually finish in the top three. We got to the quarter-finals of the League Cup too.
"So next season we want to push on. I have seen a few of the girls say that we should be pushing for a title challenge and that's definitely a fair thing to say.
"I think, because we have played in the league for a season and done well, mentally we can compete.
"We beat Sunderland twice and they won the title so it's not out of our reach at all.
"We don't want to get ahead of ourselves but to lift the trophy would be unreal.
"When we won the northern division title two seasons ago it was the best campaign of my life. It was incredible the way we did it - we were unbeaten for 16 games.
"To do it in the highest league in the country - outside the super league - would be unreal."
Joe Hunt will lead the team into the coming season, taking over as manager from Graham Abercrombie.
Petrovic admits she was shocked to see Abercrombie leave but is incredibly positive about the future under Hunt.
She added: "We're feeling the feel-good factor with Joe just like the first team are with Paul.
"It was a shock when Graham left. No-one expected it. We were concerned who would come in.
"But it's great that Joe is taking over. He's obviously a new manager but equally we've all known him for years. We see regularly at the girls centre of excellence.
"So it feels like an in-house appointment. It's like he's just stepping up. He's a good coach and he's bringing through a lot of good young talent too so it's exciting times."
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