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OL Reign sign England goalkeeper Bardsley on loan from Manchester City

The veteran should serve as a step before the likely arrival of French star Sarah Bouhaddi

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

The 36-year-old will join the club until June 30 as the NWSL club need a stopgap for the goalkeeper ahead of the planned arrival of French star Sarah Bouhaddi.

Bardsley brings a lot of experience to the club and the country, having been selected 81 times by England.

What was said?

“I am really delighted to join OL Reign during this period and very grateful to Man City for giving me the opportunity to discover a new environment to have more playing time and progress in my learning and development”, said Bardsley OL Reign official website.

“I was very impressed with the whole approach and attitude of everyone at OL Reign and I can’t wait to see the team and the coaches again. The NWSL is such a competitive league, and I’m determined to do everything I can to help the club get the season off to a good start.

Head Coach Farid Benstiti added: “Karen is a player with a lot of experience. She’s played in many big games and knows what it takes to win big games.

“Our goalie situation is complicated this year. We started with Cosette [Morche], a young goalkeeper with such great potential. And now we’re adding Karen, who will be ready to play right away.

“We have another goaltender already signed who will join mid-season, and when Karen leaves in June we will have another top player to replace her. It’s complicated, but very good.”

Who will replace Bardsley at OL Reign?

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

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

What is Bardsley’s playing status?

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

She has since returned to fitness and was called up to November training camp in England, but was passed by Ellie Roebuck as a Man City starter.

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