Natasha Harding: Manchester City move a 'blessing in disguise'

By Jo CurrieBBC Sport
Manchester City midfielder Natasha Harding
Manchester City's Natasha Harding previously played in the WSL for Bristol Academy

Natasha Harding says signing for Manchester City Women was a "blessing in disguise" after a proposed move to the United States fell through.

The 26-year-old midfielder's transfer to Washington Spirit broke down in March after she was denied a visa and she signed for City days later.

"I'm a believer that when one door closes, another one opens," Wales international Harding told BBC Sport.

"You should make the best of any opportunity," she added.

"This looks a great one so far. I think it's a blessing in disguise."

Harding left Bristol Academy after three seasons to follow her dream of playing in America's National Women's Soccer League and admits it was hard to accept when her move was prevented.

"At first I didn't believe it," she said. "I just thought 'this probably happens all the time and I'll be fine'.

"I'd already cut ties with certain people and said my goodbyes. When you get that news, it's like 'what do you do next'?

Manchester City Women
Manchester City drew with leaders Chelsea in their last league game but lie sixth of eight sides in WSL 1

"Thankfully Manchester City were knocking at the door as soon as the news went public, which gave me a plan B."

And Harding said it was an easy decision to sign with the Continental Cup holders, despite offers from other clubs in Women's Super League One.

"They said to me they want Champions League football and that's a massive selling point to me because I want to be playing in Europe," continued Harding. "Once I did come here, it's just on another level.

"I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself. I haven't been happy with my personal performances because I know what I can do, but hopefully in the second half of the season I can bang some in."

Harding says she has "not looked back" since signing for City, who have taken just five points from their first five WSL 1 matches, but admits she has not ruled out one day trying to fulfil her dream of playing in America.

She said: "I wouldn't like to give up on it yet and I still talk to the guys at Washington Spirit. They've said Washington will always be here and if I keep playing well then hopefully one day I will be playing in the US.

"For now though, I'm concentrating on Manchester City and doing a good job in the second half of the season."

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