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Khiara Keating reflects on rapid rush to reach maturity in Manchester City goal

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Mar 2024

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Manchester City goalkeeper Khiara Keating believes she has been forced to grow up quickly since taking over as the team’s number one.

The 19-year-old, who replaced Ellie Roebuck as manager Gareth Taylor’s preferred choice in goal at the start of the season, has excelled as the team have emerged as challengers for the Women’s Super League title.

The 2-1 victory against Everton on Saturday saw her concede for the first time since January 21, bringing to an end a run of five consecutive clean sheets in all competitions, with City now level on points with reigning champions Chelsea.

They have also progressed to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup thanks in no small part of a superb individual display from Keating as the team eliminated Arsenal in February.

They will face Chelsea on Thursday for a place in the League Cup final, but it is in the WSL where City have caused the biggest disruption, helped by having the best defensive record in the league with only nine goals conceded.

“It’s gone really well,” Keating told the PA news agency. “Having so many clean sheets in a row, not just in the league but in other competitions as well, just shows how well we are doing as a unit this season.

“We’ve got the best defence stats in the league. I only play my part with those around me. It makes my job fairly easy.

“The more games you play, the more confident and used to the environment you’re going to be. Still being so young, there is a bit of a switch.

“I’ve been with the first team since I was 16. I’ve had to automatically mature and be calm way faster than other people my age did. That’s helped.”

Praise was heaped on Keating following her performance in the 1-0 cup win over Arsenal at Meadow Park, with the Gunners’ Caitlin Foord describing her display as “a worldie”.

It came after she had been at fault for both goals as her side lost the WSL meeting between sides 2-1 in November, when she left the field visibly upset.

“Having the confidence and faith in myself, especially after the Arsenal game last time, I feel like I needed a redemption game,” she said. “I was just thankful I could make those two saves to give us the win we need and send us to the next round.

“We went there and knew what we had to do. I knew my part. When the final whistle blew, I could breathe. I feel like I did have my redemption game.”

She received her first call-up to Sarina Wiegman’s England side in October, and now has her sights on somebody taking the place of Manchester United’s Mary Earps as number one for the Lionesses.

“With England, the club switch is off,” she said of her rivalry with Earps. “We know what we’re there for, for our country. We’re just there to provide the best support for each other. When we’re back at club though, it’s us against them.

“My time will come. My form for my club is very important to Sarina and hopefully I can take it into the international game.”

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