In the Spotlight | Merrick Will

Women’s first-team midfielder Merrick Will dissects the ‘number six’ position before delving into the future to predict what her career, Wolves Women and women’s football could look like in five years’ time.

Positional play

Did you always want to be a centre midfielder?

When I first started out, I just ran around a lot, so midfield was where you play to do most of the running. I do really enjoy it though, but I would play anywhere, to be honest. I’ve been in the game about 16 years and covered every position except goalkeeper, but I don’t think I’d be very good in goal!

What is the best part of being a centre midfielder?

Just always being involved. You always have to stay switched on. In counter-attacks you have to be involved defensively and also in attacking, so getting the chance to do both jobs is probably my favourite part of it.

What is the hardest part of being a centre midfielder?

Probably the same point, you always have to be involved! Not that I want to, but you can never really hide. If you’re not doing your job going forward then it’s noticeable and if you’re not doing your job defensively then it’s also noticeable.

What qualities are needed to be a centre midfielder?

As a holding midfielder, which I’ve been this year, then passing range and passing detail is quite important. Scanning is another one as you have players pressing you from all angles, and you need good vision as well, so you can start an attack or getting the ball and settling it down.

What do you work on most as a centre midfielder?

It changes week to week as different games have different requirements, but in general, the thing I’ve been working on most is my switch of play – getting the ball and switching it out to certain areas, so the passing details come into that and passing has to be pinpoint to execute the game plan.

What other position would you like to play?

I think there’s part of everyone who would like to be a striker. Just for a one-off game, see what it’s like because for me it looks quite easy, they just get the ball and put it in the net. It’s definitely not easy, but when you’re Amber Hughes, she just makes it look easy.

What is the hardest other position to play?

If we’re playing a back three, then I think wing-backs is a really hard position to do. You have to have an engine for midfield, but wing-backs have to have an even bigger engine. You’re constantly going forwards and constantly going back, and as a wing-back, you’re always receiving the ball or having to come back and help defence.

Which other centre midfielders do you watch and learn from?

I’d say Jordan Nobbs. I was lucky enough to play against her a couple of seasons ago when I played for Watford in the Conti Cup and she just ran rings around me. You think your vision is good and you’ve checked your shoulder, but she’s checked it three times before you’ve even done it. Her passing ability, composure on the ball, and her range of passing is outstanding.

In five years’ time…

Personal achievements

Hopefully I’m still playing! I really love my football at Wolves, so hopefully I’ll still be here and on an individual level still competing at a high level, whether that’s in central midfield or a little bit back because I’m getting older, but I’d love to still be involved in the game, playing-wise as well as coaching.

Wolves’ future

I’d love to be at Wolves in the Championship. I’ve played in that division for eight years and came down this season for a new challenge, but definitely pushing Championship, having a few seasons getting settled and maybe WSL, that would be a nice aim. With the infrastructure here, Wolves is definitely a team that could go up and thrive in the Championship.

Hopes for the women’s game

Just continuing to push forward in all areas. We’ve definitely seen improvements in the coverage, online, TV, and the amount of people who are coming in and watching in stadiums, I hope that continues to sky-rocket, but I would like to see those numbers come down to the Championship and National League level, because the Super League is a really entertaining league and it’s great that people get to see that, but it would be nice if the fans and attention filter down.

Changes to women’s football

I’d like to see more funding coming down the pyramid. It’s a comment made more frequently, but it’s where it’s going. You need that support from the FA, you need that funding and updated regulations which need to be requirements for girls. I’m big on psychology and having player welfare, so things like that, as well as conditions that players have access to, would need to be massively improved.

Remembering the current Wolves team

Hopefully we’ll be known as the team which gets Wolves into the Championship. It’s the aim that I came down with, as well as the other players who have come down, and the girls who were already here. We’re more than capable of winning this league and it’s not going to be an easy job, but hopefully this is the squad and the coaching staff that gets the club into the Championship – where it deserves to be.

This article originally featured in Wolves' official 2023/24 matchday programme. Last season's programmes are still available to purchase online through retailers Curtis Sports