Women's football: Casey Stoney praised by Liverpool defender Martha Harris


Last Updated: 02/05/14 10:42am

Martha Harris: Says Casey Stoney has massively influenced her career

PFA award winner Martha Harris says England and Ladies defender Casey Stoney has played a key role in her emergence as one of the Super League's most promising young players.

The Liverpool Ladies defender won the inaugural PFA Women's Young Player of the Year award at a glittering ceremony in London last month.

Harris played in defence alongside Stoney as Lincoln Ladies, now known as Notts County Ladies, conceded the second-lowest number of goals in the WSL in 2013.

And the 19-year-old, who was Liverpool's first signing after winning the WSL title last year, says the England centurion has had a huge part to play in her rise to prominence.

"Casey's been a massive influence on my career - probably the biggest," Harris told Sky Sports.

"I played up front till about two seasons ago and because of numbers I had to play in defence and she really helped talk me through the game.

"She coached me as well when I was at college and is one of the few people that I would say understands every aspect of the game both on and off the pitch. She's a great leader and a great player as well."

Harris added: "I'd been at Lincoln for around 10 years and I'd only ever played there. As players we knew it was the last year as Lincoln and personally I wanted it to be a good year to go out on.

"Winning this award just topped it off for me."

Harris' PFA gong meant Liverpool completed a clean sweep of the women's awards after Lucy Bronze won the female player accolade.

With Luis Suarez winning the men's title Harris admitted the awards night had been a special occasion for the club.

"I didn't expect to win," she said. "There are many girls who I've played with for club and country who could have been nominated for this award so to win it was just fantastic.

"It's a great achievement for the club especially with Luis (Suarez) winning the men's PFA award.

"The awards (Lucy and I have won) will look really good alongside the championship trophy that we are defending."