By James Murray

8th Sep, 2023 | 3:10pm

West Ham Women defender Kirsty Smith needs to bounce back after disappointing debut campaign

West Ham Women defender Kirsty Smith needs to bounce back following a disappointing debut campaign for the club.

The experienced 29-year-old signed for the Hammers from Manchester United last summer after penning a two-year deal with the East Londoners.

But the Scotland international’s first season for the Irons perhaps didn’t go as well as she would have hoped following a few shaky performances.

Smith came through the ranks with Hibernian and made her debut in 2011 before going on to achieve great success at the club.

That led to her picking up international recognition, having now racked up 49 caps for Scotland, who she played for in the country’s first-ever World Cup four years ago.

During her seven years with Hibs, she made 44 appearances and scored a massively impressive 17 goals along the way, as the Edinburgh outfit won the domestic double in both 2016 and 2017.

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Smith’s excellent displays for club and country caught the attention of Manchester United Women ahead of their inaugural season in 2018.

The versatile defender made 40 appearances for the Red Devils during her four-year spell at the club, gaining great experience as they won the Championship in her first season before later going on to fight for a place at the top end of the WSL.

After playing in 24 games for the Manchester club in the top flight, she made the move to West Ham last summer as they looked to shore things up at the back.

Despite starting in 19 league matches and featuring in all 22, the left-back’s form was a bit inconsistent, with SofaScore giving her an average rating of 6.47 across the campaign – quite a bit lower than most of the Hammers’ starters.

The Irons recorded just four clean sheets, while the defender won possession on just 0.3 occasions after attempting 1.6 tackles on average per game.

She made one interception and 1.6 clearances a match, but she was dribbled past 0.7 times as her side conceded 44 goals across the season on their way to finishing eighth in the WSL.

Smith lost possession 18.5 times, while she won just 47 per cent of her duels and was successful in just 46 per cent of the dribbles she attempted.

The defender failed to score a goal as she registered two assists in her debut season, but her pass success rate was 57 per cent and just 17 per cent of her crosses found one of her teammates as she averaged 44.1 touches per game.

Although it wasn’t the best start to life with the Hammers for the Scot, it wasn’t all down to her as most of the side failed to deliver in what was, ultimately, a disappointing season.

The left-back still has another year on her contract to prove that she can compete at this level and she will be desperate to help the team improve on their defensive record in the upcoming season.

In other West Ham news, an update has been provided on one star’s fitness following an injury concern.