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Kenza Dali: “English women’s football is developing at an incredible speed”

Expatriate since 2019 in West Ham, the French international takes a careful look at the English Women’s Championship before France-England, Friday in a friendly in Caen.

Almost two years after your arrival in England, what has marked you the most in this Championship?
Kenza Dali: It’s a football that is very physically based and you really feel the difference in intensity in matches or in training. Every day, we start our days with a video session. There is also a lot more bodybuilding. In France, I used to do two sessions a week, in England it’s four. The game is based a lot on physical qualities, because the emphasis is on box to box while in France, we play a little more in possession. This makes us run a lot more. My average kilometers per game in England is much higher. It doesn’t mean it’s better, it’s just completely different.

Do you feel like you’ve progressed?
In the effort, I feel better than before. I realized that a lot more was needed, whereas in France I could compensate by positioning. Here, you have to hunt, squeeze, all the time. Muscularly, I have improved a lot and you can see the difference: I feel much better in my body. We had to compete with the English, so we had to work individually. I had not signed in England to find what I had known in France. But the English are very open and know how to put you at ease. In a month at the club, I felt like I had been there for ten years. We have two assistants, a mental coach, two physiotherapists, a masseur, a doctor. The staffs are a little larger and in terms of infrastructure, we are in a huge center. We have three gyms, a covered synthetic field … It’s England, what! It is the country of football, which invests a lot of money.

A record contract of 7 million pounds per year (8.1 million euros) has just been signed for TV rights. Will he bring the Championship to another dimension?
We have clubs that invest a lot, which are 100% professional. The means are there and it attracts big names like Pernille Harder or Sam Kerr. It is developing at an incredible rate. Perhaps the TV rights are also assimilated to the organization of Euro 2022 in England. When you invest, you inevitably attract big players and when you have big players, you get visibility. This is the world of football. “

Will this development lead in the short term to the formation of teams capable of competing with PSG and especially Lyon in Europe?
For sure. But beware, Lyon has been built over many years and that is what has always been their strength. It is a large framework which is known by heart. When you have big investments like Chelsea or Manchester City, it takes time. We will have to find the keys to build automation. But in the short term, over two years, teams like these are going to become very, very, very strong.

However, almost all English internationals play in England, despite the influx of foreign stars …
These are players who signed for these clubs when it was not yet today’s Chelsea or today’s Arsenal. They are seeing their Championship change completely, so they decided to stay, and that makes sense.


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