Interview

‘We need to keep calm and do what we do’

Handling pressure is nothing new to Danielle van de Donk. 

The Netherlands international reached the final of the World Cup this summer after success at Euro 2017 - and this season she’ll be dealt a similar task at club level, as we look to defend our WSL title. 

Read on for van de Donk’s thoughts on handling such pressure, her compatriot Jill Roord and much, much more. 

on whether this season will be her most exciting at the club…
Yeah, definitely. It’s everything I’ve dreamed of.

on whether she’s had much time to reflect on the past 12 months…
To be fair, I’ve not really done that yet. I’ve been very, very proud but that’s more because people around me say you’ve done amazing and I do enjoy what you’ve achieved and blah, blah, but I think I should do it a bit more myself.

on handling the pressure of being the team to beat…
Well, I think we just need to realise that we’re always continuing growing. I think we’ve gone into a process with Joe that’s not finished yet. I think we started off very good, we won the title, but I think we can keep growing because we’re always learning from Joe and even with the league we won last year. I hope we’re going to win it this year too, but it’s about looking at the bigger process too. We just need to keep calm and do what you do.

on the benefit of having a number of top class internationals in the squad…
Yeah, we do have such a good quality team though! I just hope other teams are a bit more afraid of us because I think I would be.

on how her international teammate Roord’s settled into our squad…
I’m not worried about Jill! Jill’s such an extraverted person so she’s very energetic and she does anything she wants, so I wasn’t worried about her at all. But on the pitch I do help her out a little bit because I’ll try and coach her in Dutch, it’s a bit more natural.

on what our aims for the season should be… 
Just win prizes again, like every prize you can get! It’s what we always want.

on whether being shortlisted for the FIFpro World XI motivates her…
Maybe a little bit because I really like that I’ve been recognised now, but it’s just a thing! I’d rather win prizes with the national team or with Arsenal next season than win anything individual.

on whether she sets herself targets for the season…
I just want to win the prizes because I know now how it feels and I just want to continue it and I want to grow so much more. I think we can do so much more. I want to beat everyone.