Soccer-Man Utd women's skipper Zelem defends club after Rapinoe criticism

Nov 12 (Reuters) - Manchester United women’s captain Katie Zelem has defended the club after United States midfielder Megan Rapinoe criticised the long delay in reviving a team that was scrapped in 2005, saying they hope to be top of Europe one day.

World Cup-winner Rapinoe this week denounced the lack of investment in women’s soccer and said it was “disgraceful” that a club like United had formed a new team only two years ago.

United were granted a licence to play in the second tier Championship in 2018 and immediately earned promotion to the Women’s Super League (WSL), finishing fourth in their maiden campaign. They lead the table after six games this season.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but you can see how great the club are doing now. We are currently sitting top which has maybe surpassed our own expectations as well,” Zelem told Sky Sports before Thursday’s clash with Manchester City.

“Manchester United have already had a plan and strategy and now it’s really coming into place and you can see how well we’ve done year on year from promotion to last year and to where we are now.

“As a club and a player, you just want to keep building on that platform and hopefully Manchester United will be the top of Europe one day.”

Several U.S. women’s international players have joined the WSL this season with Tobin Heath and Christen Press signing for United. (Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)