Karen Bardsley: Goalkeeper signs new deal at 'home' Man City

By Emma SandersBBC Sport
I wanted to fall back in love with football - Bardsley

England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley described Manchester City as her "home" after signing a one-year contract extension with the club.

The 36-year-old was on loan at US side OL Reign last season but said the "bigger picture" brought her back.

Bardsley has been at Manchester City since 2014, winning seven major trophies, including the club's first Women's Super League title in 2016.

"Man City has always been a massive part of my life," she told BBC Sport.

"I'm really excited to be back. Obviously it was a really difficult decision to go on loan but it certainly served a purpose.

"I wanted to fall back in love with football and find my enjoyment and excitement for it. I wanted to get a new perspective on things which allowed me to train and play well.

"It showed me the importance of building relationships and that you have to enjoy yourself along the way. That loan journey allowed me to find it again - the passion and the enjoyment.

"It made me realise what it was that made me tick and what I could bring back. I've been [at Manchester City] from the beginning and I want to see the project out as long as I possibly can.

"I just love Manchester City and my team-mates. I love being part of a club that really tries to integrate itself into the community and tries to make a difference. It's more than just the football."

'I can't control getting injured'

Karen Bardsley
Karen Bardsley was selected for Great Britain alongside England and Manchester City team-mate Ellie Roebuck

Bardsley impressed while on loan, earning her selection for this summer's Olympic Games, but she was forced to withdraw from the Great Britain squad through injury in June.

She said it felt like "the air being let out of the balloon" after an "extreme high" but she is continuing to support Team GB after they reached the quarter-finals.

"Don't get me wrong, I was absolutely devastated by it. I felt the whole situation was really cruel," said Bardsley.

"Fortunately, I had a really strong support network in place and I had people that could help me navigate a really difficult time.

"I was lucky because not everyone has that. Not everyone is willing to seek it either, I suppose. It came down to the point where I realised I had zero regrets. I can't control getting injured.

"All I can do is carry on my support for the girls and my friends on the team. I wish them well because I am so, so proud of each and every one of them and what they are doing."