InterviewVan de Sanden: It feels amazing to be back, this club means a lot to me

Published 16th July 2022
By Steve Hunter

To say Shanice van de Sanden is excited by returning to Liverpool FC Women would be an understatement.

The 29-year-old Dutch winger was a big favourite with supporters during her first spell with the club and her song was forever being heard around the ground, with the lyrics 'Van de Sanden, plays like a dream!' to the classic song Mr. Sandman.

After leaving the Reds in 2017, she went on to star as the Netherlands won the UEFA Women's Euro, as well as lifting multiple league titles and Women's Champions Leagues with Lyon.

Following a two-year spell in Germany with VfL Wolfsburg, the forward is back on Merseyside with a point to prove.

Read on as Van de Sanden tells us of her joy at returning to the club and why she is so eager to work under the guidance of LFC Women boss Matt Beard…

On returning to Liverpool for a second spell…

It feels amazing. For sure Liverpool is my favourite club in England and being back in Liverpool, seeing the girls and meeting the coach, this means a lot to me.

On when she first heard that coming back to the club was a possibility…

In my head I was already waiting. I was following them everywhere, even if I wasn't planning to go back, I was just following the games and everything. Coming back, it's crazy and the ambition this club has means a lot to me and a lot has changed since I left.

On how much this club means to her…

It does mean a lot to me. Even when I was playing for Lyon or Wolfsburg, I was still following the Liverpool women's team and that's mainly because it is in my heart. I really love the girls here and seeing how they work for each other, they fight for each other, they fight for the coach, and that's the feeling I got from outside the team. Now I'm here I have still the same feelings so I'm very happy that I've signed for Liverpool.

On her admiration for Liverpool as a city…

I really love this city. I have told my girlfriend who is coming with me to live in Liverpool that it will be totally different compared to Wolfsburg. I enjoyed my time in Wolfsburg but there is just so much more to do in Liverpool. Even if you just go out for a walk here you see so many people and just to hear them talking even if they are walking past my apartment just gives me that extra energy, what I need.

On how she feels she has changed as a player and a person since her first spell on Merseyside…

I learned so much and I'm so thankful to Liverpool because I improved so much here and then went on to sign for Lyon and Wolfsburg. Playing for Liverpool was one of the key moments in my career because I needed to play in a big league. For sure I improved as a person and as a player. I have won so many trophies since I left Liverpool and I want to bring that experience into this team.

I want to help the girls but I also need their help too to be back on the pitch at my high level again, because I haven't played that much in the last one-and-a-half years. I want to play again, get back in shape and just want to give all my energy to this team to win something together, because I really believe in this team but I also know that we need to grow. I'm here to help this team and help this club.

On the opportunity to work with Beard…

That was a big factor. I didn't know Matt at all as I played under a different manager the last time I was here. From my first phone call with him I knew I would be signing for Liverpool because he is a very nice person. Of course, you have to be 100 per cent on the pitch but he wants you to be 100 per cent well at home as well, and that's something I really needed. I needed a people's person that when I have a bad day, he can understand it. You can't find that everywhere and I'm very happy that he's here because I think he's a person that can get the best out of me. I know there's a lot still in me and I want to get it out again and show the world who I am and show the club that I can help improve it.

On what she is hoping to add to this team…

My experience. We will need to be even stronger this season because this is a really tough league. We know that but we need to focus on ourselves. If we focus too much on the other teams we can't really improve, so we need to focus on everything we need to do better on the pitch and in training. During the games we need to be honest with each other because there will be tough games when everyone is like not in the best shape, and I think we need to help each other in that case.

Tell people when they did something great and also when they didn't do something great because then you grow together and that's what I also want to bring to this team. I don't think I need to add much to this squad because they are lovely people. We need to give 100 per cent in every training session. Sometimes you might have a bad day but the next day you need to do it better.

On whether she already knows any of the players in the squad…

I know Ash [Hodson], from my first spell. Yana Daniels as well, I haven't seen her for seven or eight years. It's very nice to be back in the squad with them and I'm very excited to play with them again.

On what it will be like for her to put on the red shirt again when the matches resume…

I was already so proud to put on this training kit again so when I put on my full kit again for the game it will give me goose bumps. I think I will be even more pumped up so I'm ready to put on the jersey and from there let's go!

On why she can't wait to play in front of the supporters again…

I'm very excited because I remember the song they had for me! Maybe they still remember that song so I'm very excited to hear it again and see them again. I know they travel all over the country so I'm very happy to play for them again.

Published 16th July 2022