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Rivals show their colours as star reveals cancer fight

Man City and Arsenal players wear ‘Beattie’ shirts to support defender

18 December, 2020 — By Catherine Etoe

Support for Arsenal and former Manchester City defender Jen Beattie (right). Photo: Manchester City FC

TWO opposing sides united on Sunday when every player warmed up wearing a shirt adorned with the name of Arsenal defender Jen Beattie.

Beattie, 29, revealed in a BBC interview ahead of the FA Women’s Super League clash between the Gunners and Manchester City that she was being treated for breast cancer.

“I’ll be honest, you automatically think the worst,” she told Football Focus. “I asked the question: ‘Am I going to die?’”

The Scottish international, who is still ­playing and, having had surgery, is now expected to undergo radiotherapy treatment, spoke out to encourage other women to seek help if they find a breast lump.

“I know people are maybe scared to go to the hospital and scared to get checked out because of Covid, but there are still ways to do it,” Beattie added. “It can be a much better ending if you just go and get checked.”

To show their support for Beattie, her teammates and opponents donned “Beattie 5” shirts as they went through their paces ahead of kick-off at City’s Academy Stadium.

“She’s a great person, so understated and ­probably didn’t like the attention today, but she deserves it,” said City midfielder and Scotland teammate Caroline Weir.

“What she’s been through and how she’s handled herself is an inspiration. She just wants to help people.”

Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro was equally glowing in his praise of a player who scored for his team against Brighton in October, just a few days after learning of her cancer diagnosis.

“Jen’s an amazing person and an amazing footballer,” he said. “What I love about what we do is we have the opportunity to create awareness of these things, and both City and Arsenal were absolutely amazing in the way they went about it. I’m really proud to have been a part of that.”

Montemurro was less enthusiastic about the way his team seemingly refused to settle for a point away from home against a key title rival.

Vivianne Miedema had stunned City with an early goal, but World Cup winner Sam Mewis levelled before Weir hit a 94th minute winner.

The 2-1 defeat saw Arsenal slip to third in the table behind Chelsea and Man United, and Montemurro said they needed to get back on track for the visit of Everton this Sunday.

He added: “We have to make sure we get three points or else we’re going to be in not a good situation.”

Watch Arsenal versus Everton live on the BBC Red Button this Sunday at 12.30pm.

DERBY DAY AWAITS

Champions Chelsea will host Tottenham at Kingsmeadow on Sunday in a match to be broadcast live on The FA Player.

It will be the first taste of a London derby for new Spurs head coach Rehanne Skinner, who oversaw a second 3-1 win on the bounce on Sunday.

Aston Villa were undone at The Hive in Barnet this time. Star signing Alex Morgan proved her worth, winning and scoring a penalty before forcing an own-goal with a whipped cross. Roselle Ayane completed the scoring as Spurs moved into eighth place in the table.

BIG NIGHT IN

The winner of Fifa’s Best Women’s Coach award will be announced tonight (Thursday), and Chelsea’s Emma Hayes is in the running.

The former Parliament Hill School pupil is up against Lyon boss Jean-Luc Vasseur and Netherlands manager Sarina Wiegman.

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