Ashley Hodson: Liverpool record-breaker on coming ‘full circle’ – BBC Sport

Ashley Hodson against Bristol City
Ashley Hodson came on as a substitute against Bristol City

When Liverpool midfielder Ashley Hodson made her debut seven years ago, she walked into a side full of internationals which would go on to win the Women’s Super League title for a second successive year that season.

Now under the same manager Matt Beard – in his second spell at the club – Hodson has broken the record for the most appearances by a professional female Liverpool player.

The 26-year-old notched up her 116th game in the 0-0 draw against Beard’s former club Bristol City, breaking ex-captain Gemma Bonner’s record.

Hodson, who graduated from Liverpool’s development squad, says her journey has come “full circle” under Beard and hopes the Championship club can return to former highs by earning promotion back to the WSL this season.

“It’s really nice for Matt to have given me my debut and for us to win the title in our first season together,” Hodson told BBC Sport.

“For him to have given me the record-breaking appearance is fitting. Hopefully we can do what we did that year and repeat what happened to win this league title.”

Reflecting on her debut season, Hodson added: “It was pretty special. The team had won [the WSL title] the year before and they always said when I went up into the first team that was what they wanted to go out and do again.

“When you look back now, that team was actually an unbelievable side. Just look at where they are all at now. It was an honour to come through, be able to play with them and learn off them at such a young age.”

Ashley Hodson and Gemma Bonner
Hodson (right) warms up alongside former captain Gemma Bonner

That title-winning side included Lucy Bronze, who went on to win Fifa’s Best Footballer of the Year award in 2020, and England’s most-capped player Fara Williams, who recently retired. Bonner was also in the squad.

“I always say she [Bonner] was a big figure at the club, so to take that on from her makes me really proud,” Hodson added.

“Bonner was a really good captain and a great role model, especially for me when I was younger. She took me under her wing a little bit. She involved me on and off the pitch and that helped me a lot while I was coming through.

“She texted me in the morning to say congratulations, that she was proud of me and that it’s been a journey. She was proud to be a part of it.”

But one of the first people to congratulate Hodson was her biggest fan – her father.

“He’s been an inspiration for me since a young age. He literally comes to every single game – whether it’s home or away,” said Hodson.

“Even if I’m injured, he still comes to support us. He just loves watching football. He always gives me a little wave. He does it every time.

“I haven’t been home yet but I’m sure when I do, we will celebrate.”

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