Aston Villa manager Carla Ward has back-tracked on her comments that Hannah Hampton was left out of the squad to face Chelsea in the ‘best interests’ of the team. After the game, Ward said that Hampton had been available but that something had happened a day earlier which led her to decide it was in the best interests of the team to leave her at home.
Ward had said that Hampton was fit to play in last Friday’s press conference ahead of the game at Kingsmeadow. The goalkeeper was left out of the squad but turned up unannounced to watch from the stands. Ward said: ‘Hannah was available. Something happened yesterday and we decided it was in the best interests of the team and the squad for her to stay at home so I did exactly that.
It then emerged on Monday that Hampton had been dropped by England over issues with her attitude. The goalkeeper has not been picked by Sarina Wiegman since the Euro, with the Lionesses’ boss stating she had ‘personal issues’ she had to resolve.‘That’s all I really want to say on the matter. I made the decision in the best interests of the team to leave at her home and I’ve left her at home. I would probably prefer to talk about the 11 players that were here.’
Wiegman named her squad for this month’s friendlies against Japan and Norway on Tuesday and after Hampton was excluded again, the goalkeeper broke her silence with a statement on social media. The 21-year-old said she was suffering with an ‘on-going medical issue’ and would undergo a small procedure that would keep her out for a few weeks.
That statement contradicted Ward’s comments last weekend but the Villa boss backed up Hampton’s claim in her press conference on Friday morning. When asked about Hampton’s situation, Ward said: ‘She has a recurring muscle injury, she’ll undergo a small medical procedure tomorrow. After that she’ll be back in contention. ‘That’s as much as I want to say on the matter.’
Ward was asked to clarify what she had meant by her comments that Hampton had missed the Chelsea game in the ‘best interests of the team’ but the manager did not want to elaborate. ‘That was last week, my focus now is on Liverpool,’ Ward said. My focus is on preparing the team for Sunday.’