United Women are proud to announce the arrival of former Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace defender Hannah Mackenzie.
Having most recently represented Crystal Palace in the FA Women’s Championship, the highly-rated 25-year-old spoke about what prompted the move to Oxford over the summer.
“I came about the move through a couple of the girls messaging me whenthey saw that I had left Crystal Palace. It didn’t take me long to realise exactly what Oxford are about, which to be honest I had already heard how great the club, the girls and staff are and so it was a very easy decision for me.
“I only live half an hour from Oxford, so it’s always been a local club that I followed on social media and I’ve always known of quite a few girls that have been, gone, and still at Oxford and I’ve only ever heard positive things. Everyone has always told me that it’s such a great atmosphere, and how supported the staff and players are, and that really is true. I’ve only been here for the last couple of weeks and everyone has made me feel very welcome very quickly.”
When speaking to Hannah, it was clear that the club’s ambition to get to the FA Women’s Championship was a key factor in attracting such a high-quality player – a league which Mackenzie is familiar with during her time at Spurs and Crystal Palace.
“I think the aim of reaching the Championship is such an exciting part of joining Oxford, as it would be great for the club. To be honest, I don’t thinkthe top three teams in this league are very different from the middle-bottom teams in the Championship. We’ve got a couple of girls at Oxford who have played in either the Championship or the Women’s Super League, who will tell you it is a little quicker, sharper and physical but nothing our players couldn’t handle. I think with all of our experience together, we will do what we can to help lead the younger girls and I reallydo see us fighting for promotion.
”The tough-tackling defender will add huge quality to an already exciting squad which Liam Gilbert has assembled so far this summer, and Mackenzie mentioned how her expertise will help the younger players around her.
“I mean, anyone who knows me knows I love a header and a big tackle (hence why I have ongoing head injuries). I do my best to help others and lead on the pitch. I’ll put my body on the line for the club and the team as much as I can. I am too competitive not to... I just hate losing, even if it is just a fun game at training. I think that is key for a defender.
“The squad has got quite a few young girls, but I think that’s great as theyare really keen to learn and progress. I’ve played with some great players who have taught me a lot, I just hope I can do the same for the younger girls at Oxford, as that’s what football is all about.”
While the expansive style of play that United have to offer is different to what Mackenzie experienced last season at Crystal Palace, the courageous defender expressed how The U’s style appealed:
“The style Oxford play is a little different to Palace, but I think that suits me a lot better. The expansive style is a great way to play and we definitely have the ability within the team to do so and punish other teams to come away with the three points. We have two unreal goalkeepers, solid defenders, quick and skilful wingers, a clever and technical midfield and some class goal scorers up top...I can’t give too much away about the game plans just in case!
“My aims for the season are to develop my confidence and find my love offootball again. I completely fell out of love with it these last two seasons and it felt more of a chore than something I wanted to do. I also want to learn from the staff and the girls as much as I can so I can develop personally to be as beneficial for the team as I can be.”