by Callum Ellis
WALES captain Sophie Ingle has re-joined Chelsea Women from Liverpool Ladies – five years after leaving the London club.
Ingle left Chelsea in 2013 to go to Bristol Academy before joining Liverpool in 2015 where she made 55 appearances for the Reds.
The 26-year-old picked up Liverpool’s Players’ Player of the Season award after an impressive campaign in Merseyside.
She now returns to the two-time FA Super League winners, but thanked those at her former club for their support:
— Sophie Ingle (@sophieingle01) 14 June 2018
Ingle has played an integral role in the heart of Wales’ defence which has seen them yet to concede in their World Cup qualifying campaign.
The former Cardiff City Ladies defender made her 87th appearance for her country in their World Cup qualifier against Russia earlier this week.
“As soon as I got the call from Chelsea it was massive for me,” she told the official Chelsea website.
“I enjoyed my time at Liverpool, but this is a new challenge and I think I’m ready for it. I need to push on with my career and I’ve come to a club that is the number one in England, winning plenty of trophies, and I hope to do that here.
“They’ve got so much strength in depth in the squad. The club is full of international players and I’m excited to be training and playing with them day in, day out.
“Hopefully I can become a better player because of it. The club has changed massively – they’ve built and built over the years and they’ve got the rewards they deserve.”
Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes praised Ingle for her performances over the last year: “We’ve been monitoring her since she left us – I think it’s fair to say she’s been the key player for club and country, especially over the past 12 months. She’s a top performer and has been quietly getting the plaudits every week.
“The time is right both for Sophie and us for this next step. Chelsea is a much different place from when she left us and she brings the right ingredients we are looking for in terms of the right mentality. I think she is going to push the existing squad to be fighting for a place in the team.”
She added: “The players that we want to bring in, we really want them to challenge the starters and we know with Sophie’s experience and her ability, she will do that pretty much right away.”