Deanne Rose won gold with Canada at Tokyo Olympics – now she’s shining in debut WSL season

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Deanne Rose was ready-made for the Women’s Super League long before she signed for Reading last summer.

The 23-year-old has been a staple of the Canada Women’s team since making her international debut aged just 16, clocking 68 appearances and winning Olympic gold at the Tokyo Games last year.

The Ontario-born winger also scored the opening goal in their third-place match against Brazil at the 2016 Rio Olympics, which Canada won 2-1 to clinch bronze, becoming the youngest female Olympic goalscorer at 17 years and 169 days.

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“Ever since I was little, playing for Canada has been a dream come true, getting to represent them on the world’s biggest stage,” Rose told Sky Sports ahead of their WSL clash with Chelsea, live on Sky Sports on Sunday.

“Hopefully I can continue to do that for years to come but so far I’ve just had the best time.

Image: Deanne Rose in action for Canada against Spain in the Arnold Clark Cup

“I don’t know what to expect at this point because I feel like the way that I started with the national team was just so unexpected, I’m just grateful every time I get to represent Canada now.”

Rose combined representing her country with four years playing college football at the University of Florida before her summer transfer to the Berkshire-based Royals – a sensible move to help take her game to the next level.

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“I always admired the style of play, I know this is one of the best leagues in the world for women right now,” said Rose.

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“I wanted to be part of growing the game and I know this league is a big part of that. Playing with Canada helped me settle into this professional league a little bit better than maybe if I hadn’t.

“Coming from College it’s definitely adjusting to the faster-paced game and the more physicality of players, that would probably be the main changes.

“I definitely feel like I’ve improved since I’ve been here and one of the beauties of this league is we just play so many games, as a player that’s your dream, the more games, the better you get.”

Rose has become one of Reading’s stars this season but truly announced herself to the WSL with a wonderful solo goal in a 1-0 victory over title hopefuls Chelsea in December. It was a moment that made her realise she belonged in the division, playing against some of the world’s best.

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Deanne Rose gives Reading a dream start in their WSL match against Chelsea.

“It was definitely a monumental moment for me, this being my first season in the league,” said Rose, who has contributed the most assists (3), goal involvements (7), shots (24) and touches in the box (61) for Reading this season.

“For me and the team, it built confidence knowing what we could do to top teams like Chelsea. It was the end of the first part of our season and gave us the confidence we needed moving into the second part.

“Going into Chelsea I knew we were playing some top opposition and I’d played some of them with Canada and the Great Britain team at the Olympics. I knew what the competition was coming into the game.”

Image: Reading's Deanne Rose (left) celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game against Chelsea in December

The return fixture against Chelsea on Sunday won’t be any easier. The Blues come into the game off the back of hammering Leicester 9-0 and a point ahead of Arsenal at the top of the WSL – the first time they have led the division all season.

Emma Hayes’ side are undefeated in their last eight league games whereas Reading are winless in six although have four more points than at the same stage last season.

Nonetheless, Rose sees it as another opportunity to test herself against the best.

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Highlights of the Women’s Super League match between Leicester and Chelsea.

“Chelsea are obviously a top-class opposition but I think we’ve proved ourselves when we’ve had our backs against the wall at points this season and we’re ready to give them a challenge,” she said after Reading lost their opening four games of the season without scoring and conceding 10 goals.

“These are the most exciting games as a player at this level you live for that type of pressure and these type of moments. It means more so I’m excited for this game in particular.

“My teammates have done well to help me settle into the team and league; I think it’s been an ideal first season for me at this club.”

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