Manchester United forward Ella Toone continued her outstanding start to the season by netting a hat-trick on duty for England this week in a Women’s World Cup qualifier against Latvia.
Toone is already a star at club level and is becomingly an increasingly important part of the England set-up as well. What’s more, at just 22 she represents a very bright future for both.
Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman suggested after the 10-0 victory that Toone’s ability gives her the potential to become one of the best if she works hard enough for it.
“Ella is a very talented player. I think she can do well because the whole team does well. I don't know how good she will become - that's up to her. But she is really talented, that is obvious,” Wiegman explained at a post-match press conference.
Toone has been excelling for Manchester United for three years. She joined the girls’ academy ranks there at a very young age but was later forced to pursue a career elsewhere because of the lack of a senior squad at the time – she wasn’t the only one who had to leave.
Toone was playing first-team football for Blackburn by the age of 16 and impressed enough to be picked up by Manchester City, before then returning ‘home’ to United in 2018 while still a teenager when the club finally launched a senior women’s team.
Now into the club’s fourth season, Toone has made more appearances and scored more goals for United than anyone else. She also holds the joint club record for most goals in a game and most consecutive league matches scored in, and is the first United player to become a consistent part of the England squad from being previously uncapped.
Versatility makes Toone a huge asset. She is capable of playing anywhere across the front line, right or left, or through the middle as a ‘number 10’ or ‘false nine’, and has the ability to either score a goal (or several) herself or unlock a defence with an incisive pass.
It was her measured through ball that got the ball rolling for United on what could have been a nervy opening night of the season last month and has kept up that quality ever since. More than ever before, she has stepped forward from the supporting cast into a starring role.
A hat-trick for England, which she described in post-match comments as something she will ‘never forget’, is a welcome next stage in her ongoing development and she will only keep getting better.