How Wubben-Moy produced best season of her career

Lotte Wubben-Moy with the Player of the Season trophy
Lotte Wubben-Moy led the Lionesses' campaign for equal access to football for girls in schools following their Euro 2022 win [Getty Images]

There was a turning point in Lotte Wubben-Moy’s career where she realised she needed to improve.

The Arsenal defender did not play a single minute in England’s successful Euro 2022 campaign and despite coming away from the tournament with a winner’s medal, Wubben-Moy wanted more.

“I looked at a team that had just dominated Europe,” she told BBC Sport.

“I said to myself ‘we are talented and if I’m going to try and keep up with this group of players, I have to do something different’.

“I would say it took me about a year to figure that out and place myself in that mix. I looked at my approach to the season after and asked myself what I needed to do to get to that top level.

“I wanted to do more analysis and look at my games from a different perspective and not just the emotional side. I needed a team around me who could support me physically and mentally.”

And so the changes began.

Now, two years on, Wubben-Moy has established herself as one of the most consistent defenders in the Women’s Super League after a standout campaign.

She has featured more regularly for England, having also played a role in their journey to the Women’s World Cup final in 2023, and will link-up with them again in July when she recovers from a foot injury picked up at the end of the season.

“I made small changes with things like yoga and I do more relaxation methods,” she said.

“I wanted to pinpoint myself as one of the best centre-backs in the league and force myself into the England team.

“That was something that two years ago I might not have thought was possible but it’s been such a conscious thing that I kind of knew it would happen.”

‘She has an endurance, mentally’

Renee Slegers and Lotte Wubben-Moy
Renee Slegers (left) and Lotte Wubben-Moy (right) have worked closely together this season [Getty Images]

Wubben-Moy’s rise from an Arsenal academy graduate to a regular first team player has been an enjoyable one, but it has not always been plain-sailing.

Her error proved costly in the 119th minute of their Women’s Champions League semi-final exit to Wolfsburg in May 2023, but she has bounced back this season with strong performances.

Arsenal assistant coach Renee Slegers told BBC Sport: “The biggest thing that stands out is her mindset and the way she takes ownership of everything she can control.

“She is very humble. She likes to listen and learn with everything in life. She is a very thoughtful and mindful person. She has an endurance, mentally. She doesn’t give up easily or lose patience.

“It’s not that she’s just taking in all the information – she wants to give her opinion too. That’s been great for Lotte this year.”

The 25-year-old admitted it was “difficult” when she made the mistake against Wolfsburg but she has been repaid for her hard work since.

And her individual accolade this season – picking up the club’s Player of the Season – means she can no longer go under the radar as she has preferred to do in the past.

“You can’t do that as a footballer. I don’t want to go under the radar anymore. That’s also a contributing factor to why I’ve been able to perform so well,” she added.

“My mindset in general comes from a place of wanting to do well for the [team]. I’ve never been someone that after one pass thinks ‘that was so good’ or ‘that was awful’.

“I have a mindset that allows me to take a step back. It’s not just one moment but an accumulation of all those moments.”

Analysis, growing confidence and a vision

Lotte Wubben-Moy playing for England
Lotte Wubben-Moy was part of the England squads for Euro 2022 and the 2023 Women's World Cup [Getty Images]

With the help of Slegers, Wubben-Moy has developed key technical areas in her game such as her body positioning, her ability to break the press with her passing and being more aggressive.

These were highlighted in analysis sessions which Wubben-Moy instigated having clipped up video footage of her own gameplay in evenings after matches.

She talked them through with Slegers and the assistant coach came up with training drills to put it into practise.

Wubben-Moy also analyses her opponents and recruited her own team of statisticians – not affiliated with Arsenal - to help her develop personal skills which match the team’s “DNA”.

“I think as a player you sometimes need to have your back scratched. I know that I’m a good player but I also like to see it. The more I can see it [in stats], the more I believe it,” she added.

“If I’m not looking at a better version of myself than I was a month ago, then I don’t really see how I can develop. If I have the stats, I know I can look at them and say ‘I’ve improved here’.”

Wubben-Moy’s development is not complete. Her version is to become a starter for England as they look to defend their European title in Switzerland next year, as well as a leader for Arsenal.

“I’m a small cog in a big wheel so I want to do it for the team and not just necessarily for myself. It’s a drive that comes from within, but it’s also to drive others,” she added.

“I want to have an impact on others both on and off the pitch.”

Slegers says Wubben-Moy is a player that “maximises her capabilities” and sees “the bigger picture”.

“It’s all about what she wants. She is very motivated to get the most out of herself,” she added.

“With her mindset, she can fulfil her potential. I don’t know where the ceiling is - but that’s the fun thing about it.”