Leicester City’s Aussie recruits can make a difference

By Kieran Yap (27/1/23)

Above: Courtney Nevin on international duty. Photo: Football Australia

Leicester City’s push for survival in the FAWSL has seen them sign two Australian internationals. Here is what fans can expect from Remy Siemsen and Courtney Nevin.

Australia had just lost 3-0 to the USA. Starting in central defence was an 18-year-old Courtney Nevin and a 17 year old Jessika Nash. A stomach bug and injuries had swept through the camp, and manager Tony Gustavsson opted for the inexperienced pair. The reigning world champions tore them apart almost instantly.

A few days later, after one full day of training, Nevin was trusted to start again in central defence. She had previously been a relatively surprising inclusion in the Tokyo Olympics squad. Although she was one of Western Sydney Wanderers’s most consistent performers, the club did not make much impact on the season leading into the games.

It was that second match against the USA where Nevin emerged as a serious international level football. It was a much more gritty game than the first one. While there was improvement across the entire squad, Nevin’s role at centre-back was essential to the 1-1 draw. She won a number of crucial duels including against a full-pace Lynn Williams.

Above: Courtney Nevin (left) celebrating a goal for Hammarby during the 2022 Damallsvenskan season. Photo: Hammarby.

Her improvement in the space of those few days is typical of her career. Nevin just keeps stepping up and meeting the next challenge. She often exceeds expectations, and the question changed long ago from “how good is she,” to “how good she can get?”

She had represented Australia at all age levels and offers the national team depth that they did not have before.

Nevin is a left-back by trade. She has established herself as a genuine option in central defence or full-back for the national team but has played most of her career out wide.

She is deceptively quick and able to take players on in wide areas. Her left foot can deliver quality crosses or long passes from deep. Early in her time in Sweden with Hammarby, she used it to score from a free kick. It is something Australian fans are also familiar with.

Before moving to Europe, Nevin spent a season with Melbourne Victory. In a campaign badly affected by defensive injuries, Nevin played an almost flawless season as Victory won a second consecutive Grand Final. She had big boots to fill in replacing club legend Angie Beard and only earned more fans by doing so.

Nevin is still young, but at just 20 she has won domestic trophies, been part of an Olympic squad that finished fourth, and become a mainstay in a national team that will co-host the World Cup this year.

She is constantly improving, and becoming a better individual player. Courtney Nevin is one of Australia’s brightest prospects and will provide Leicester with defensive commitment and an attacking outlet from fullback or set pieces. She is a rising star, who has risen to meet every challenge so far in her career.

Above: Remy Siemsen gets a shot away for Sydney FC in the 2022 A-League Women Grand Final against Melbourne Victory. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

Remy Siemsen arrives at Leicester City to offer hope to a team that has only scored five goals this season.

Siemsen’s rise has been hard-earned. She was a teenage prodigy in the NSW NPL, and adjusted quickly to the then W-League with 10 goals in her first Sydney FC season. After trying her luck in the second tier of the USA, she returned to Australia and encountered her first and only goalless season as a professional with Western Sydney Wanderers.

After her eventual transfer across town to Sydney FC, she has been on an upward trajectory. In her last two seasons in sky blue, Siemsen scored 19 goals over 40 matches. A brief return before her transfer to Leicester City resulted in another two in four games.

Siemsen’s record is one of consistent goalscoring wherever she has played. Her time at California Storm and AIK in Sweden are both considered to be lower points of her career, but she still found the net at both clubs.

Siemsen’s finishing is her most obvious asset. She is dangerous from anywhere around the penalty box and is capable of finding the top corner in spectacular fashion.

An underappreciated aspect of her game is her ability to open up space for other forwards. At Sydney FC, Siemsen’s movement was vital to bringing fellow Matildas Cortnee Vine and Princess Ibini into the action. She can link play, perform as a decoy or lead the line as a centre forward.

But no matter what her role, she always finds the back of the net. Leicester fans should not expect another Sam Kerr or Caitlin Foord. Siemsen is not as searingly fast as the other two high profile Australian strikers in England.

She is a very clever forward with excellent movement and classy finishing.

Leicester City have not created too many chances this season, but Siemsen can be trusted to make the most of what comes her way.

They have signed a striker on the edge of the national team, who has looked to challenge herself outside of her comfort zone. Like Nevin, Remy Siemsen is looking to find out how good she can be and force her way into a World Cup squad.

She has the motivation, talent, and track record to make an impact in the FAWSL.

Above: Remy Siemsen pictured after her international debut for Australia. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

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