Rachel Yankey says she is working towards becoming a leader on the pitch.
The England winger resumed her fine form from the back end of last season against ASD Torres in the Champions League on Wednesday, providing two assists as Arsenal Ladies began their season with a 3-1 win.
It was a performance that showcased the 32-year-old’s enduring ability, and Yankey is now focused on transferring the Ladies’ winning ethos to the younger members of the squad.
“At the end of last season, Laura Harvey told me that I needed to step up and be a leader,” said Yankey. “It's something that Vic [Akers] told me as well. I remember when I was a youngster coming through at Arsenal. It is difficult.
You have to be a leader in every game because everyone wants to beat you. Every game is a cup final for another team and we have to be on formRachel Yankey
“I think players that don't play for Arsenal don't really understand what it is to play for this Club. You have to be a leader in every game because everyone wants to beat you. Every game is a cup final for another team and we have to be on form.
“I think the older players, and there's quite a few of us now, have to make sure that the younger players understand that."
Yankey has started the campaign well and she is glad to be clear of the fitness issues that troubled her last season.
“I had an injury a while back where nobody could find out what was wrong with me," she explained. "We've solved it and I've worked hard in rehab.
“I'm feeling good and now I know what was wrong with me and what I can do. I feel like I've got my pace back and I feel strong and confident. I just want to play really.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 21 Mar 2013