JANINE BECKIE warns it will be the ‘enemies’ prime time should she be on the pitch for Manchester City and see Jessie Fleming in Chelsea’s line-up.
At the Conti Cup final, the buddies were able to compete for cutlery in a Conti final for the first time since moving to England.
The League Cup holds a special place in Beckie’s heart.
She won it in a dramatic shootout in 2019 as City defeated Arsenal 4-2 on pegs at Bramall Lane with the Canadian net from the spot.
It was the first trophy the Colorado-born forward won with City after joining from US club Sky Blue FC in August 2018.
Beckie, 27, told SunSport: “I wasn’t really used to playing for multiple trophies in one season. That was the first one I won with the club.
“And the way it was won was pretty special.
“I just remember coming into the game quite late and playing 60 minutes because we went to penalties.
“It was the first time I really felt my impact on the team.
“I’ll definitely look back on that with fondness at the end of my career.”
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The duel at AFC’s Wimbledon precinct, just over five miles from the Blues’ home of Kingsmeadow, is set to be played to a full house.
In this clash, Beckie and City will look to deny Emma Hayes’s side a chance of a hat-trick from back-to-back League Cup wins.
It comes seven months later when Beckie and Fleming, 23, helped Canada win their first Olympic gold medal.
Fleming scored a penalty in the penalty shoot-out win over Sweden and Beckie scored the winning goal in the group stage
In the eight years since they met while battling for Canada Under-23s, the duo have developed a close friendship.
Fleming once appeared on the Man City ace’s Brewie with Beckie podcast, where they chatted about their favorite coffees and helped everyone through their ups and downs.
Beckie added: “It’s always fun to compete against friends, especially Jessie because she’s one of my closest.
“It’s great to see her succeed so well with Chelsea as she’s come a long way in the short time she’s been there
“Playing against them is something special.
“We are friends off the pitch but enemies in the 90 minutes that we play. But I’m super proud of her.”
City meet Chelsea for the third time this season without Steph Houghton, who underwent surgery on an Achilles injury in February.
Her influential skipper has led the club to three Conti Cup triumphs in the past seven years.
Looking to Canada and seeing that we don’t have a professional league and are still able to play at the level that we are is pretty outstanding, but it’s time for one now.
And while their presence will be missed, Taylor believes City have enough compelling numbers to fill the void.
The 48-year-old Academy boss said: “Steph’s absence is a blow to us in terms of her leadership on the pitch, but she helps massively off the pitch leading up to games and during them.
“But we have more than enough leadership on the pitch and people who’ve played a bit in big games and lead in different ways.”
After their gold medal success, the Canada women’s team looks to their next big challenge – a challenge for the 2023 World Cup.
And this at a time when the men’s team is participating in a World Cup for the first time in 36 years.
For Beckie, Fleming and their women’s national teammates, there is hope that one day Canada will create its first-ever women’s professional soccer division.
The country is the only Fifa top 10 team without a dedicated league of professional women’s teams.
Beckie added: “Looking at Canada and seeing that we don’t have a professional national league and still being able to play at the level that we have is pretty outstanding, but it’s time for one now.
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“There is a second division league in the works which is a step in the right direction but definitely not what we were asking for.
“It all goes back to this Canadian investment.
“It’s about who wants to bring pro sport and give our young girls and boys women’s football idols to look up to.
“As athletes, we urge a professional league to emerge and we will continue to do so until that happens.”
Chelsea vs Manchester City in the Continental Cup Final is broadcast live on BBC Two tonight at 5:15pm.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/17851297/janine-beckie-manchester-city-continental/ Canadian ace Beckie enjoys the duel with ‘enemy’ Fleming in Manchester City’s League Cup match against Chelsea