Rapinoe labels Man Utd a "disgrace" for taking so long to have women’s team

Megan Rapinoe has labelled Manchester United "disgraceful" for their delay in setting up a women's football team.

The USA winger, 35, was most recently on the books of OL Reign at club level in her home country, where the women's game is growing again gradually after the creation of a new national league eight years ago.

The UK is now following a similar trajectory following the inauguration of the Women's Super League (WSL) in 2010.

Man Utd currently lead the WSL table after six games, having been promoted to the top-flight fairly recently, but Rapinoe feels it took the club too long to get on board as they only created a women's team in 2018.

"I think women's football in England is the same as in America," the two-time World Cup winner told the BBC. "It is so far behind because of what we've had to overcome in the lack of investment.

"It's 2020. How long has the Premier League been around? And we're only just seeing a club like Manchester United put effort and pounds towards a women's team? Frankly, it's disgraceful."

United did have a women's team previously but disbanded it in 2005 as it was deemed unprofitable, though the club still maintained their academy set-up.

It has been a steep rise for United's women's team since the club invested in starting up a new side.

Former England defender Casey Stoney – who was capped more than 100 times by her country – is now manager of United and has led them to an unbeaten start this season.

Two of Rapinoe's international teammates, Christen Press and Tobin Heath, have been helping United's cause after moves to the club in the summer.

They are among a small influx of US stars to come to England to test themselves in the WSL, along with Man City duo Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis, and Tottenham loanee Alex Morgan.

For Rapinoe though, who was voted FIFA's Best women's player in 2019, there is a different target in mind.

“I’ve had a few teammates go abroad and play, while I’m training and trying to keep fit in the hopes that eventually we’ll be out of this hellscape [Covid-19 pandemic]," Rapinoe said. “I want to keep playing. I’m definitely not anywhere near retirement – I absolutely want to play at the Olympics.”

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