Aston Villa have continued their strong summer recruitment drive by securing the signing of rising star goalkeeper Hannah Hampton following her recent exit from local rivals Birmingham, positioning themselves for a rise up the WSL table this coming season.
Still just 20, Hampton has been called up to the senior England squad for training camps on a number of occasions over the past 18 months and is widely tipped to seriously challenge for the Lionesses gloves in the future.
She has been a regular with Birmingham in the WSL since 2018 and had the added bonus of starting her football career as an outfield player in Villarreal’s academy after her family moved to Spain.
Hampton has signed a two-year contract with Villa and manager Carla Ward, who was in charge at Birmingham last season, has called her one of the best goalkeepers in the WSL.“She is a really gifted individual who can play with both feet and is comfortable under pressure,” Ward told AVFC.co.uk. “Her ambition is to become England's number one and hopefully we can continue to develop her and help her achieve that.”
Having been promoted to the top flight for the first time in 2020, Villa survived on the final day of the 2020/21 WSL season and are targeting significant improvement in their second season.
Prior to taking a job at Angel City in the Los Angeles in May, former Villa director of football Eniola Aluko exclusively told 90min that recruitment was an important of the plan to build on last season. Hampton is just the latest of a flurry of smart signings the club has made this summer.
“The club will have to invest to bring in players who can take it up to another level and start pushing towards mid-table, similar to how the men’s team have,” Aluko explained at the time, giving an early hint towards the flurry of smart signings that have now been made. More may yet come.
Hampton is Villa’s sixth new arrival in a matter of days. Business started with the announcement of Alisha Lehmann’s move from West Ham, quickly followed by deals for four proven WSL players in Remi Allen, Sarah Mayling, Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah and Meaghan Sargeant.
For Villa, the ambition is clear. They not only want to be a WSL club, but a competitive WSL club. If things go according to plan and the newly improved squad starts the new season well, a place in the top half of the table is within reach in what is a largely fluid competition below the top sides.
If it is assumed that Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal will be the top three again and decent Everton and Manchester United teams will be battling for fourth and fifth places, sixth is absolutely up for grabs for any team capable of getting a few good results and finding some consistency.
Brighton proved that last season. And while there is bound to competition from others like Reading, Tottenham and West Ham with similar ideas, Villa’s recruitment is putting them in a strong position to make it a reality for themselves.
Source : 90min