OL Reign sign England goalkeeper Bardsley on loan from Manchester City

The veteran is set to serve as a stopgap before the likely arrival of France star Sarah Bouhaddi

OL Reign have announced the signing of England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley on loan from Manchester City.  

The 36-year-old will join through June 30, with the NWSL club in need of a stopgap at goalkeeper before the expected arrival of France star Sarah Bouhaddi.

Bardsley brings plenty of experience for club and country, having been capped 81 times by England.

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What’s been said?

“I am really excited to be joining OL Reign over this period and very grateful to Man City for allowing me the opportunity to experience a new environment to get more game time and progress my learning and development,” Bardsley told OL Reign’s official website.

“I’ve been very impressed with the whole approach and attitude of everyone at OL Reign and I can’t wait to meet up with the squad and coaches. NWSL is such a competitive league, and I’m determined to do all I can to help the club get the season off to a winning start.”

Head coach Farid Benstiti added: “Karen is a player with very big experience. She has played in many important games and knows what it takes to win big matches.

“Our goalkeeping situation is complicated this year. We have started with Cosette [Morche], a young goalkeeper with so much great potential. And now we add Karen, who will be ready to play immediately.

“We have another keeper already signed that will join mid-season, and when Karen departs in June, we will have another top player to replace her. It is complicated, but very good.”

Who will replace Bardsley at OL Reign?

The player Benstiti is referring to is almost certainly Bouhaddi, who is currently playing for OL Reign’s sister club Lyon. 

Lyon owner Jean-Michel Aulas said last month that two out of the star trio of Bouhaddi, Dzsenifer Marozsan and Wendie Renard would likely join OL Reign when their campaign with Lyon ends.

What is Bardsley’s playing status?

Bardsley was England’s starter at the 2019 World Cup but suffered a serious hamstring injury during the tournament that kept her out for 15 months. 

She has since returned to fitness and was called in to England’s November training camp, but has been overtaken by Ellie Roebuck as Man City’s starter.

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