Sunday People

Oh boy! Jill was the best

Man United Man City Today, 4.30pm, Sky Sports


MANCHESTER CITY have paid £300,000 to make

Jill Roord the most expensive player in the Women’s Super League.

But the Holland internatio­nal midfielder learned her trade alongside male stars Tijjani Reijnders and Sam Beukema.

Roord was such a talent when she was 15 coming through the ranks at FC Twente, that coaches instructed her to play in the boys’ Under-16s side.

Strict regulation­s meant she was too young to be picked for the club’s senior women’s team.

One of her team-mates was Reijnders, the AC

Milan star who cost the Italian club £20million last summer and now partners Barcelona playmaker Frenkie de Jong in Holland’s midfield.

Another was Beukema, a centre-back who joined Serie A club Bologna in July for £7m.

Roord did not look out of place and Beukema said: “Jill was the only girl in the entire national league, but soon gained the respect of the whole group.

“I don’t know how many times she played the ball through an opponent’s legs.

“One time we lost 4-1 at AZ Alkmaar and (Holland internatio­nals) Teun Koopmeiner­s and Calvin Stengs played for them.

“The academy director of Twente was there and in the dressing room afterwards, he said, ‘You all played like girls, except Jill – she played like a guy!”

Roord quickly progressed into Twente’s women’s team when she came of age – before moving to Bayern Munich and then Arsenal.

After a spell with Wolfsburg, the 26-year-old was snapped up by City in the summer.

Roord said: “Growing up, I only played in boys’ teams. It was only when I was selected for the Holland national side at Under-16 level that I played in a team with other girls for the first time.

“Until then, I had no idea about women’s football.”

 ?? ?? WORLD RECORD Roord

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