Following the 5-0 defeat of Juventus in the first Arsenal Women’s game pre-season, I spoke to our latest recruit, the French goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, who has just signed from Champions League winners Olympique Lyonnais.
Pauline spent many seasons as back-up to the France number one Sarah Bouhaddi. As such, she has quite enjoyed an unusual career path.
Peyraud-Magnin came through the youth teams at OL, spending six seasons as an understudy. She then moved to Issy in 2014/15 where she played 16 games.
The following season, she also played 16 games, this time for St-Etienne. Then, 19 games for Olympique Marseille, where she was crucial in their fourth place finish, after promotion to the top division. She then went back to Lyon for another season and more trophies, before signing up for the Arsenal.
I asked her if she was settling in well at the club: “Everything is fine, the girls are great with me. The manager and the coaching staff have all been very welcoming, it is really nice here.”
As a fellow Frenchman, I proceeded to ask how she was doing speaking English with her team-mates. As we have seen throughout her career, she had previously only played in France “In the beginning, it was not easy, but now I have acquired more vocabulary, so it is a lot better now.”
On the subject of communicating with her team-mates on the pitch, Pauline said the club sent her a list of words and expressions to learn so that she could integrate quickly and easily.
We then talked about life away from the pitch and adapting to a new environment. “I am settling well in my new home. London is a beautiful city that I really like. I live in a shared house with two other players.”
We talked about the way football is played in England and if it is different from the French way. If you watch French football on TV, you will have noticed that, in general, the referees are stricter than in England. They use their whistle more than their English counterparts, especially for fouls. “The game is more physical here, goalkeepers get hit more, but I don’t mind, I like that kind of game.”
We also spoke about playing time in the upcoming season because Pauline played three full seasons and, then, when she went back to Lyon, she only got one game last year.
It is quite obvious a back-up goalkeeper is less likely to get games than an outfield player in general. Considering Sari Van Veenendaal is a Euro champion, game time might be restricted for Peyraud Magnin. “At the moment, there is no pecking order. I think Sari will play, but I will also get games during the season. I have not really discussed that point with the manager.”
With the FIFA Women’s World Cup being played at home in France next Summer, and the race for the two slots behind number one Bouhaddi wide open, Pauline could certainly be on the plane to France, if she gets enough game time this season.
She has been called up twice for the senior team, but has not been capped so far.
Below is the video of her first call-up while playing for Olympique Marseille. You can see the famous Clairefontaine training centre where all of France’s teams prepare for international competitions.
“My target is to be selected for the World Cup,” she continued, “and in order to achieve this, I need game time and I believe here at Arsenal is the right place to get some.”
Arsenal have signed a quality goalkeeper with a lot of experience and I have no doubt that she will be a real asset to the club and will help us win trophies this season.