Manchester United fans are eagerly waiting to catch their first glimpse of January signing Jayde Riviere in action and could finally get that when West Ham visit Old Trafford this weekend.
Riviere arrived during the winter transfer window carrying a pre-existing long-term injury that had sidelined her since the autumn, ruling her out of action until now.
But the 22-year-old, who has been a Canada international since 2017 after making her debut at 16, has made good progress and joined full training for the first time last week.
Having been playing at the University of Michigan until 2022, it was her injury in September that prompted the decision to end her college career when she did, this is the first time that Riviere has been under a professional contract – her only other senior club experience came briefly with Ann Arbor in early 2022 in the pre-professional USL W League.
But Riviere isn’t lacking either quality or experience. She went to the 2019 World Cup with Canada as a teenager, before winning Olympic gold with her country in 2021.
The moment that really brought her attention to United manager Marc Skinner was the way she shut down Lauren Hemp in a 1-1 draw against England at the 2022 Arnold Clark Cup. Just under 12 months later, she was signing a two-and-a-half-year contract until 2025.
“She didn’t really give Lauren Hemp much change,” Skinner said this week ahead of a potential debut for Riviere. “The reality was she ran her the other way, so she was really aggressive with the ball. It was that personality which really attracted me to her.”
The United boss is a fan of the player’s ‘effortless’ movement, which he has hinted is part of his long-term ideals for team building. It is similar to the kind of thing that fans are already used to seeing from Ona Batlle, who has developed into one of the best full-backs in the world.
“When people move and it’s effortless, for me that’s the nature of how I want to build the team because then you can rotate and get into different positions quicker,” Skinner explained.
“I’ve seen that even this week when she’s come back in training. She just moves effortlessly, is fearless with the ball, wants to progress, wants to defend one-v-one with aggressive actions. She will be really exciting and the type of player Manchester United want.
“I think you will see a lot of good things going forward with Jayde.”
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