Player blog: Karen Bardsley happy in Manchester
- 22 June 2014 15:26
- Posted by @klbardsley
Manchester City Women and England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley discusses life as a Blue, her thoughts of Manchester and what she's been up to in the mid-season break...
Well, I'm back in Manchester now after a good, well-needed rest. I went back to California so I got to catch up on quality time with my parents and hang out with my friends. I spent some time at the beach too, recharging. The weather was amazing.
Last week, I was on international duty with England and it was really nice to be back in the squad and to be selected for the two away games.
I was glad to be reacquainted with Mark Sampson and Lee Kendall - well, everyone really! And just to get playing again was great. It felt like it had been ages - maybe four or five months since I'd seen them last - so it was pretty nice.
It was good to see a new part of the world too. I've never been to Belarus or Ukraine before. It was definitely an eye-opening experience and it changed my perception of the two countries. Most importantly though, we got two wins so I'm happy with that.
I missed Manchester while I was away so that's always a good sign. I missed the people, the team, the coaching staff... everything about the club!
It's great to be back. We went over to the ground on Friday for a recovery session, which includes some yoga and stuff, and when I walked up to the academy and saw the girls on the pitch, I had a big old smile on my face!
I'm really happy to be able to return to a positive environment where the people get you and they want the best for you. I'm really looking forward to restarting the season and we're all hoping we can pick up where we left off.
The break was a good thing and a bad thing. For me, it was good to have a bit more time to recover from my injury but it was also disappointing because we were in such a rhythm and in such a good place.
We were firing on all cylinders and when you go home, it's more tempting to slip into old habits. Still, if your habits are good then it's not really a problem.
For me, it was more of a maintenance-type trip rather than a mental break and I don't find it difficult to keep fit and healthy even though we weren't training. I just make good decisions and eat good food. It doesn't feel like I'm not letting myself have certain things; it's just about being smart and intelligent about it.
I'm really happy in Manchester and I feel really settled now. I live in Salford Quays at the minute and I love coming home to where we live.
It's different to California - in terms of the weather (in case you hadn't noticed!) - but I like it. There's fewer beaches but the people are really friendly and fun. It's a cool place.
We get to see the water every night and wake up to really great views. I really like that. I feel really familiar with the town now and I love the Northern Quarter - that's my favourite part of the city.
There's always something interesting or quirky going on there, like music, art or great food. There's always something to do and I like trying to find things that are out of the ordinary and a bit different - that's fun.
It's been good to explore the city and it's also nice knowing I've got a family who are not too far away. My auntie and cousins are in Stockport and I have a few cousins in Macclesfield so I'm not completely cut off. I've got support there if I need it.
At this point, I can definitely say I made the right choice in joining City. I think at the start, you can never be quite sure of what it's going to be like when you go somewhere new. It's completely different and it's like going into the unknown but with everything that's happened, I would say my decision has been justified.
City have kept all their promises. We're training with the boys teams when they're in and they're treating us like every other team in the entire club. You couldn't really ask for anything else.
Nick Cushing is a great manager too - not only on the pitch but off the pitch too. He's a good, honest person and you always know what you're going to get from him.
If you've got any comments, queries or questions - or if you want to talk about anything - he's always available and he'll tell you exactly what he thinks, whether you like the answer or not! He's a really easy guy to approach and you know exactly where you stand. I like that a lot.
He has the same standards as the club do. It goes from under-9s to the first-team and he makes sure everyone maintains those standards. He wants the best for you, he wants the best for the club and he has this great enthusiasm which is really infectious.
We really look forward to coming to training and you can tell he absolutely loves his job - he loves everything!
He's very passionate and he's got a great vigour in every single thing he does. It always rubs off on us and I'm really looking forward to seeing him and the rest of the staff this week.
Our targets haven't really changed. At the start of the season, we basically said we were a new team, building foundations in the hope of becoming the best we could be.
We never said we were going to win the league or anything like that. In our own minds, we have a plan that everything is very much in our own hands.
We can control our own destiny. It's still early enough for us to make up some lost ground so I think the rest of the season will be very exciting and hopefully, we will end up in a really great place.