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Chelsea’s Cuthbert ready to face Real Madrid in Champions League tonight

Chelsea women face Real Madrid tonight at Kingsmeadow in the Champions League.

The Blues top their group and a win would put them five points clear in Group A.

The west Londoners will be without striker Pernille Harder who underwent surgery on a hamstring this week and is out for a significant period of time.

Maren Mjelde is still not fit to return to the squad.

Fran Kirby returns to the fold and is set to start after recovering from a viral infection.

One player sure to start is Erin Cuthbert who has been in sensational form this season.

Cuthbert is a player who knows what she wants and is prepared to wait until she gets it.

This season, the Scotland international has moved into a central midfield position – an area of the field she has coveted at Chelsea from the time she put on the blue of Chelsea in 2017.

The 24-year-old has played 82 times for the west Londoners, and now feels that the best is yet to come from her in her preferred position.

When asked about the move from a wide position, she said: “I was on the wide side areas of the pitch. But when you are centre mid, you’re body position becomes more important, because you are not on one side of the pitch. You need to open your hips. Fitness-wise too, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been.

“Getting up and down the pitch is very important too.

.”The move actually happened in December. I was kind of thrown in there, and we didn’t have a lot of time to work on it. It was actually a blessing for not to be at the Euros because there was a lot of one-to-one time with coaches.

“In pre-season. It actually solidified [learning] that position – the ins and outs out. And when we went on the pre-season tour, especially, it was really good.

“Because there were fewer payers here, he staff could have more focused attention on me.”

Cuthbert is a happy player just now. She’s in a position she loves, in a team she loves.

“I kept going into the office every six months since I joined the club, wanting to play there,” she said.

“But I’ll play wherever. I’m asked. Their response was ‘no’, just no.

“Every time [head coach] Emma [Hayes] would say, ‘next year, next year. I always see you as a midfielder eventually.’

“I just glad. The time has finally came.”

It’s helped that Cuthbert was in a strong position contract-wise – she signed a new deal last week. It enabled her and her advisors to press home her desire for that positional move.

She admitted: “And I think that was the reason, the contract renewal. I wanted to be a midfielder, and I know I am best in midfield. You know as a player where you feel more comfortable and best, and I feel that midfield is my home and I want to prove that to everybody.”

Cuthbert has hit the back of the net in the past two games, the zinger from outside the penalty area against Spurs at Stamford Bridge was very sweet.

She said of the goal: “There was nothing else on my mind, not to hit the top corner, but to be laser-focused to shoot and get it on target.

“With the ball dropping and it came up, it was easy to just send it over the stands, if you like, so I tried to get my head over it and keep it on target.

“I know that I have got a reasonably powerful shot so, if I get it on target, you give yourself a chance. There were a lot of bodies there. So even if the keeper got to it, there were second phase opportunities for us.

“People think I only score bangers, but I want to score tap-ins as well. I want to be known as a goal-scorer, it easily up there as one of my best.

“In the week that I’ve signed a new contract at Chelsea. I know what it means to play for Chelsea. They have. history. To top one off at the Bridge on the same week as my contact renewal is certainly something special.”

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