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Mary Phillip has made her first appearance in an Arsenal shirt after her summer transfer move from Fulham, and is looking forward to life with her new club. "It feels good to be an Arsenal player!" she told Women's Soccer Scene. "The girls are really good here and welcomed me with open arms and helped me settle in, it's pretty cool."
Arguably the country's most accomplished defender, Mary felt that it was the right time to join a new club. "It was a tough decision to make a move but I think my time was up at Fulham," she says. "On a personal note, I don't think I had a great season, I don't think that pushed me I should say, and I needed this season to be one that would push me and motivate me, and make me work harder. Coming to a new team, I'm going to have that - Arsenal have got a great set up, great players in all positions so I've got to fight for a place and I know that when I'm starting, I've fought for my place and it's been hard work.
"Not winning a trophy last season had nothing to do with (moving), you can ask all the girls that. We've all left for a reason, some different than others, but we have all left for a motivational point of view and pushing our game. I don't think we thought we were getting that at Fulham and that we just needed to move on."
Arsenal learned their UEFA Women's Cup group opponents this week and Mary, whilst admitting they don't have the easiest of draws, is confident they can progress to the last eight. "Every game's a tough one, when you go into (Europe) you can't walk into a game thinking it's going to be easy. They are three tough games but I think we'll do well in them."
In less than two weeks time, Arsenal will kick off the new season when they take on Charlton Athletic in this year's Community Shield match at Stevenage. "That'll be a good game," says Mary, "Charlton have always given Arsenal a good battle - last season they both won a couple against each other. The Shield is the opening game of the season so it will be a good show."
With the European Championships less than a year away, one thing that Mary cannot wait for is to renew her successful England central defensive partnership with Faye White at club level, once the England captain returns from injury. "That's got to be the biggest bonus! Faye's presently out injured but she should be back within a few weeks, so if we can get a good partnership here it gives us a good chance of playing with each other in the England squad next year but at the minute we're both playing for our place there, we're not guaranteed that," she says, "but if we both play well during the season, hopefully we'll both be picked and be starting players for that tournament."
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