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Over recent years senior figures at the club had said their preference was to focus all resources on the men’s first team.

But last August the club said it was “monitoring the situation” and on Wednesday United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said on the club’s official website: “We are pleased to announce that the club intends to establish its first ever professional women’s team and has submitted an application to enter WSL2.

“The Manchester United women’s team must be built in the same image and with the same principles as the men’s first team and offer academy players a clear route to top-level football within the club.”

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