Exclusive Interview: Karen Carney on leaving Birmingham for Chelsea and being different

She said: “I was honest with them, I said I wasn’t sure about coming away from home. I’d done everything domestically I wanted to achieve.

“I won the quadruple at 18 with Arsenal so I didn’t really know what I was chasing after the World Cup, and I was a bit lost, so I didn’t know whether to just be content at home and just play my football or go for another challenge.

“But Emma persuaded me to come for this challenge and I think it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made.

“If you look at it rationally, the move is a no brainer. But it was difficult because of the emotional attachment I have with the club. I love everybody there and it is my team – the team I’ve always supported.

“And to have the hall of fame and things like that made it tricky, but the thing Chelsea didn’t do was pressurise me, where other clubs have previously tried to pressurise me into moving and I’ve gone the other way and stayed because I don’t like that.

“Emma knows me and gave me the time to figure it out for myself which is what I needed, she was really patient with that, because in her head I think she thought I’d come but if Emma wasn’t here I wouldn’t be here. She was massive.

“I always laugh to her that I very rarely even come out of Birmingham, even for them to get me down to look round the stadium was quite a big statement from me.

“It sounds really weird and it’s not an arrogant thing, it’s just I’m just such a home person, but it’s been really good to step out of that and open my eyes again.

“I like to play for good people, and she is a massive pull, I like the way she plays and she helped me personally in America which was pivotal for me.

“When my mum was ill I always thought the club paid for me to fly back and visit her and then only years down the line I found out it was Emma, so she did some stuff for me that was personal that I’ll truly never forget so I have got an alliance to Emma Hayes.

“And that’s not me saying that so she picks me, she went above and beyond for me as a person, and saw me as Karen Carney the person, not just the footballer, but for me now I want to go the extra mile for her whatever way I can.”

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