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Harley Bennett set to reach 50 appearances for the London City Lionesses

This Sunday will see captain Harley Bennett walk out onto the pitch for the London City Lionesses for the 50th time.

The first player to reach that milestone for the club, Bennett joined the Lionesses back in the summer of 2019, lining up in the backline for the clubs first ever game.

I started by asking Bennett, just what she remembers from that day.

“It was against London Bees, Grace (Neville) scored the winner, and I remember that game was really topping off what we had been building over preseason,” said Bennett.

“The club had already made a real statement for me, regarding both the players they brought in and what they wanted to achieve. And with each season they’ve just moved the posts in terms of what they want to achieve.

“But the first game was really exciting, and I remember we all had the same kind of boots on, and we obviously won the game, so really fond memories of that game.”

Of course, between that clash with the London Bee’s and the Sunday’s match against Coventry United, there have been plenty of other memorable moments for Bennett in London City Colours.

“For me and a lot of girls, the Liverpool game, that first game this season, really stands out,” remarked Bennett, “for us to go away to them, the first game of the season, and really make a statement, that’s definitely a special one.

“Blackburn away is another one that stands out though, where we went one goal down, and it was absolutely hammering it, and it really was a hard fight to get that game back. So that was quite special, and everyone was really relieved to have got the three points.”

But of course, for Bennett, the significance of the millstone on Sunday is something she is well aware of.

“As a player, it’s always nice to hit certain checkpoints throughout your career. Me and Mel spoke about it leading up to the Bristol City game, and then obviously we’ve had two postponements.

“So, it's given me a chance to reflect on my time at London City. It's been a fantastic journey to still be a part of it and see how far the club has come in those three years, and on a personal level, it's really nice to have got 50 caps for the club.”

And of course, making history also brings with it some serious dressing room bragging rights.

“Yeah, there’s a bit of bragging rights,'' chuckles Bennett, “Grace (Neville) likes to brag that she got the first goal for London City, so yeah it’s nice to be the first in anything.”

“But I'm sure I'm not going to be the last (to reach 50 appearances), we've still got a few girls here that I joined the club with that play regularly, so it’ll be nice to see other people reach that millstone.”

Finally, I asked Bennett what advice she would give to the version of herself who was stepping out for that first match for the Lionesses.

“I think I’d tell myself to just take the pressure off,'' said Bennett, “I set very high standards for myself, and I think it's probably part of what gets you to a certain point in an athletic career and pressure can be a good thing.

“But it’s also important to just allow yourself to know that the preparations you've done throughout the week or the hours that you put in training, really has prepared you for the moment that is in front of you, whatever game that may be.

“So yeah, I think maybe I’d say to just enjoy the moment and enjoy the journey.”

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