Villa Ladies preview: Mannion "over the moon" with captaincy honour
Aoife Mannion reacted to becoming the youngest captain in Villa Ladies history by admitting: "I'm over the moon!"
Mannion is just 17 but that tender age didn't stop manager Joe Hunt handing her the armband for the League Cup clash with Leicester Ladies.
Regular skipper Dani Petrovic was rested as Hunt opted for a youthful line-up against the Foxes.
That meant Mannion stepping up the role of skipper and she was thrilled with the honour and the responsibility it brought.
She said: "Obviously Joe opted to rest the more experienced girls for the cup tie and went with a very young side.
"Our usual captain Dani wasn't involved so he had to pick a new skipper.
"I didn't for one moment think it would be me. When he told me, I was in shock.
"But it was a proud moment to lead out the girls. I was playing for the U17s only twelve months ago so to be promoted to the seniors was a good enough feeling. To be captain? I was over the moon!
"Obviously the fact Villa are such an established name in domestic football makes it an honour. But it also meant a lot to me because there are a lot of girls I respect immensely in the set-up so to represent them was a real pleasure.
"It's great to think Joe believed in me enough to select me. It's certainly given me a big boost going into the rest of the season. I'm not silly. I know Dani would have been captain had she been involved but it still meant a lot to me."
Mannion also played centre-half, her more accomplished role, in the 3-0 win.
Hunt rates Mannion very highly and thinks she's a cert to be one of the stars of the set-up in the years to come in her favoured centre-back position.
But he thinks she'll get a good learning experience playing as a full-back alongside the more experienced Petrovic and Richards.
She agrees with this philosophy.
She continued: "Obviously I see myself as a centre-half but Joe thinks I'll develop my overall game playing as a full-back. That's where I have mainly played this season.
"I respect Joe immensely as both a coach and a manager so if he thinks that will help me, I'm sure it will."
Mannion is relishing the clash with Barnet, as Villa Ladies go in search of four wins in four games.
She added: "Obviously we didn't start brilliantly with a few slack results but we're really getting up to speed with things now. It's clicking. We have young girls and more senior ones. It was a big change at the start of the campaign but we're getting used to one another's games now.
"I think it's going to be a good end to the season, hopefully starting at Barnet, which will be a tough encounter."
Make sure you're here to roar on the lads against Manchester United.
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