Arsenal Ladies relishing challenge of International tournament in Japan
Arsenal Ladies will be the only English representatives in the International Women’s Club Championship taking place in Japan.
The 10-day trip will see the Gunners’ enter the competition at the semi-final stage on Wednesday.
Two Japanese teams – Urawa Red Diamonds and Okayama Yunogo Belle – are taking part, along with Copa Libertadores title holders São José, Australian champions Melbourne Victory and another Asian side yet to be confirmed.
Jordan Nobbs believes the trip will help team bonding under new manager Pedro Martinez Losa.
Losa took charge for the Gunners’ last three games in the Women’s Super League and also the Continental Cup final, which they lost to 1-0 to Manchester City.
“It was disappointing that we didn’t win the final,” said Nobbs. “I thought we played well but we weren’t clinical enough.
“It’ll help us to have a few more games under our belts. We know we’re going to come up against some very hard teams and it’s important to learn from them and try to do well in the tournament.
“I think it’s good for the squad to spend time together, training and just being around each other, especially after we had so many changes at the club last year.
“Japan was amazing last time we went (in 2011) – it’s a unique country and you don’t get too many opportunities to experience the culture. Everyone’s looking forward to it.”
Arsenal’s squad includes two members of Japan’s 2011 World Cup-winning team, striker Shinobu Ohno and defender Yukari Kinga.
Lianne Sanderson is expected to make her second debut during the tournament, after rejoining the Gunners from the Boston Breakers.
Nobbs is confident that Sanderson will settle quickly.
“I think it’s something that Arsenal need at the moment,” said Nobbs. “I’ve worked with Lianne for England and she’s a great player of top quality.
“She can hold the ball up and, as a midfielder, that’s great for me. Having a player of her quality come in will only push the rest of us and keep us sharp, and this trip will be a nice introduction.
“The club have won a lot of trophies in the past and we’re hungry to win more next year. I’m sure Lianne’s going to be a big part of the club and help us to success.”