Laura Bassett: Tribute to Chelsea icon Cole; the World Cup experience; handling WSL midseason break

Laura Bassett discusses Chelsea Ladies' first-half of the season, reflects on Ashley Cole's Chelsea career and also what playing in a World Cup truly means. 
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Laura Bassett discusses Chelsea Ladies' first-half of the season, reflects on Ashley Cole's Chelsea career and also what playing in a World Cup truly means.

 

With the Women's Super League in its midseason break, everyone involved can reflect on the first-half of the campaign with some pride.

This 2014 WSL season has to be the most exciting and closest one yet! If you include cup and league games together, not one team is undefeated! So already, games are close and everyone is beatable on their day. I think all eight teams are still title contenders as all it takes is a strong winning run and you can soar straight up the league table.

The strikers have really thrived so far this season.

I believe Jess Clarke from Notts County has had a really good start to the league and scored some crucial goals for them. This year she has been playing more of a central forward role rather than in a wide position and it seems like she's become more effective. Kelly Smith and Dan Carter for Arsenal have also showed their attacking flare and quality in many games too.

As for Chelsea Ladies, yes we have struggled in this first part of the season to get all of our first team squad fit, healthy and available for selection. This has hindered our cohesion and consistency as our starting XI has been forced to change from game to game.

I firmly believe that the club with the most strength and depth will be successful this season. I believe our squad has such a balance of youth, enthusiasm, experience, cultural influence, hunger and drive. We now have to ensure we bring all of these 100% of the time, to each and every game. If we can do this, we will end up where we want to be.

Of course, in English football a midseason break isn't the norm.

But the WSL is in its fourth season now and every year we have a 5-6 week mid-season break. So all clubs, staff and players are used to it by now and have adopted strategies which they believe will be profitable for their team for the season's duration. Most clubs give their players two weeks off in which they don’t have to report into club training.

In these two weeks, some players prefer to take a vacation and switch off. Other players prefer to carry on training but do more off-loading session in the pool, or on the bike for example.

The international calendar uses this opportunity to play World Cup qualifying fixtures. This week, I'm with England and we travel away to Belarus and Ukraine to continue our campaign.

Everyone at Chelsea Ladies are obviously excited about the World Cup kicking off.

Personally, I've been lucky enough to experience a World Cup with England and I can tell you playing and being involved is incredible.

It creates so many memories that stay with you forever. Everything about it is so different from playing for your club. It is so intense, emotionally, physically and psychologically. Very often you have to adapt to a different country, culture and climate very quickly. The climate will pose a big challenge for the players this summer in Brazil.

Rookie players like Liverpool striker Danny Sturridge and Everton's Ross Barkley will have experienced and been exposed to tournament football in the international youth system. They will be supported and looked after by the established players so i think they will handle all that is thrown at them.

I believe and hope England will get out the group and after that it’s far too close to predict! As we know anything can happen in tournament football! I’ll be keeping everything crossed that the "tournament luck" that all the World Cup winners have at some point follows our guys all the way to the final.

Since we last touched base, it looks like Ashley Cole is leaving Chelsea.

Cole has been a great servant for club and country. Having gained over a century of international caps and winning so many domestic honours is no easy feat and should be respected and celebrated. As a fellow defender, I can say he has been the best left back in this country over the past 10 years, and arguably the best left back England has ever had.

I'm sure he will go on to be successful in his next venture.

 

Tickets for all Chelsea Ladies home games at Wheatsheaf Park, Staines, are available on the door priced £3 for Children and £5 for Adults or via webticketmanager.com/clfc season tickets are just £30 for Adults and £15 for concessions.

 

Follow Laura: @laurabassett6 and Chelsea Ladies: @ChelseaLFC

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