Thoughts on: Danielle Carter
13 September 2020
Once a Gunner...
As Arsenal’s longest serving player, Danielle Carter’s announcement that she will be leaving the club has come as a bit of a shock. With injuries having kept her off the pitch, it is safe to say it has been a frustrating couple of years for the striker.
Torn ACL’s are the Achilles heel of women’s sport. The knee injury is not just a tear to the joint, it is a tear from one’s livelihood. Typically requiring surgery, followed by extensive physiotherapy, the recovery to full fitness is not for the faint hearted. Simply, they are physically and emotionally agonising. So suffering two in as many years is unimaginable. Many would have likely thrown in the towel after enduring such devastation, but not in this case. Dan Carter is made of strong stuff.
Despite having missed most of the last two seasons, Carter has very much remained at the heart of Arsenal. This speaks volumes as to not only her importance as a player, but also to her character, both as a team member and as an individual. Carter’s positive outlook on the pitch seems to be reflected off of it, and certainly, she will be missed as her eleven-year tenure at Meadow Park comes to an end.
What Carter leaves behind is more than just a legacy. She wraps up her time with the Gunners having scored sixty goals in 184 appearances. A mammoth three league titles, five Conti Cups and four FA Cups under her belt. Taking a look back at Carter’s Arsenal career, it is clear to see that she has been instrumental in their success over the past decade.
Carter is a fine dribbler of the ball. With complete control, she twists and turns, dips and dodges, sending defenders into all sorts of frenzies as she goes. Her movement is spellbinding; a delight for the viewer, a nightmare for the opposition. Impossibly quick footwork means she outwits defensive lines with ease, routinely taking risks and creating chances to put the Gunners ahead.
Her accuracy is spot on. When she is on goal, you can bet she is hitting the target. She is intelligent in her positioning, and her runs often see her on the end of a cross or a through ball. Yet Carter’s immense finish means she does not need to be in the box to sink one past the keeper. When it comes to long range shots, Carter fires them like a cannon. In fact, her two hat tricks in four appearances for England tells you all you need to know about Carter’s goalscoring abilities.
A striker of Carter’s quality should be playing, and playing regularly; and herein lies the problem. Coming back into an Arsenal side and competing for a place against decidedly esteemed forwards is a tall order, but even more so after such a prolonged period off the field. Overcoming two years of anguish, Carter deserves game time, but unfortunately, this is no longer a guarantee at Arsenal.
Is Carter’s departure gutting? Undoubtably so. But is it a wise move? Absolutely.
Having not had the opportunity to play out a final game, this is a bittersweet goodbye. However, although it may not have ended with a bang, her influence will certainly not fizzle. What she has achieved, but more importantly what she has given, will not be forgotten, and she leaves with her head held high. As the saying goes, once a Gunner always a Gunner.
At 27, Carter has plenty more to give, and plenty more time to shine once again. And one thing is for certain, whichever team Carter finds herself at next, will have landed themselves someone rather special.
*Carter has since joined Reading.