Ella Toone has become the first player to reach 100 appearances for Manchester United Women, reaching the century milestone in her club’s WSL win over Brighton at Leigh Sports Village.
Toone, who grew up a United fan idolising Cristiano Ronaldo and spent six years in the club’s youth ranks before starting her senior career elsewhere, was an original member of the squad when the senior side was finally reformed in the summer of 2018.
Born in Tyldesley, not too far from where United call home in Leigh, Toone was a force in the Women’s Championship during the club’s debut season while just a teenager. She then adapted quickly to the WSL and has really matured since the start of the 2020/21 campaign in particular, taking on a major role despite still only being 22.
Toone has featured in all 57 of the club’s league wins across the Championship and WSL to date. In other words, United are still yet to win a league match without her.
Against Brighton on her milestone appearance, she was a creative spark, picking passes and making clever runs throughout from the ‘number 10’ role just behind the forwards. An incisive ball inside full-back Maya Le Tissier gave Leah Galton the winning goal and United all three points.
Toone couldn’t find a goal of her own to mark the special occasion, having been denied by Seagulls stopper Katie Startup early on.
United manager Marc Skinner presented the player with a framed shirt bearing her name and the number 100 on the pitch before the game kick-off.
Speaking later on, the United boss described Toone as a ‘huge, huge asset’ to the club.
“For me, she’s a huge person for what we’re going to build here,” he explained. “She’s got loads of rough edges that I don’t want to file down too much because she has the quality and wonderful ability to make things happen.
“We’re on a learning curve that she has to go through. I’m just happy as a coach that I get to experience that with her.”