Midfielder Clare Wheeler has made her move to Everton permanent after initially joining the club on loan in the summer.
The Australia international arrived on Merseyside from Danish side Fortuna Hjørring in August but has now penned a two-and-a-half-year deal that will see her remain at Walton Hall Park until the end of June 2025.
Despite her start to life at Everton being delayed by injury, Wheeler has made seven appearances so far this term under Brian Sorensen, who she previously worked with at Fortuna.
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Reflecting on her decision to permanently sign for the Toffees, Wheeler told evertontv: "I’m excited, delighted, just really happy to stay here. Playing for Everton was something I had to work to achieve and I’m really thankful to Brian [Sorensen] for bringing me here.
“I’ve really enjoyed the past six months. To have the opportunity to stay here for even longer is perfect.”
Ahead of her move to the club in the summer, manager Sorensen described Wheeler as one of the most consistent performers during the duo’s time working together in Denmark. The midfielder expressed her gratitude to her boss and is eager to continue to repay that belief with performances for Everton.
“Fortuna was my first move overseas and Brian put a lot of faith in me,” she said.
“He brought me to Everton and continued to challenge me in a new environment which is something I’m incredibly grateful for. I love it here in England. As an Aussie, it’s been really easy to transition culturally, but I really enjoy the football, too.
"It’s one of the best leagues in the world and, looking ahead to the World Cup, it’s the place that I want to be. For me, I have to keep looking forward and be the best player that I can be.
She added: “I’m happy that it’s at Everton and to be amongst this group of players. It’s really special and I feel we’re building towards something. All of us know that we need to work our socks off. We need to push to see how high we can go and that’s a really good environment to be in.
“This playing group is one of the best I have been a part of.”
And manager Sorensen hopes his number seven can kick on in the second part of the season.
“I’m really happy Clare can continue her journey here,” he said.
“She was one of the players I identified last summer who I wanted to bring here and work with again. She’s been a little unlucky with injuries over the first half of the season. We believe in her. She’s a smart player and suits our style of play.
“We know what she’s capable of and what she can offer – we were never in doubt of that. I’m happy we could reach an agreement and I’m looking forward to seeing what Clare can bring to us in the coming months.”
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