Head coach Casey Stoney vowed to stay true to the Manchester United way as the club’s first professional women’s team prepares to make history.

After years of condemnation for not having a team, United will return for their first senior competitive women’s match since 2005 at rivals Liverpool on Sunday.

The Continental Tyres Cup clash will be a momentous occasion for a side hurriedly brought together once their application for a licence was approved by the Football Association in May.

It is a challenge that former England defender Stoney has relished since being appointed head coach, sculpting the team on and off the field in double quick time.

“I retired in February, I took the post with Phil Neville as the assistant with the national team and then obviously this job came up,” she told Press Association Sport.

“I put myself in (for it), I went through quite a stringent interview process to get it and put my name in the hat.

“Then I had four-and-a-half weeks to try and put together a squad and staff, so that was a whirlwind in itself.

“But, do you know what? I really enjoyed it. It was hard work, but I loved it because it is my opportunity to put my stamp on it.”

Casey Stoney won the PFA Special Achievement Award plate at this year's PFA AwardsCasey Stoney won the PFA Special Achievement Award plate at this year’s PFA Awards (Barrington Coombs/PA)

Stoney says her young squad’s average age is just 21, with the United boss determined to bring through talent while exciting fans on the field – a focus that has long been key for the men’s team.

So important are the club’s values that the job advert for Stoney’s role included among the key responsibilities coaching an “attractive brand of football that is synonymous with Manchester United”.

When asked how she viewed the United way, Stoney said: “I think it’s fast, attacking football and we’ve definitely got players that can do that in our squad.

“Also, the ability to bring people back that had played here before in the youth systems and keep that pathway, so that the little girl that goes in at under-10 can go right the way through to the first-team.”

Despite being denied that path before, a number of graduates from United’s regional talent club have returned upon the formation of a senior team.

Katie Zelem, who won Serie A with Juventus last term, is among them, while England internationals Siobhan Chamberlain, Alex Greenwood and Amy Turner help bring experience to the group.

The three players are among those to have switched Liverpool for United for the 2018-19 season, adding extra spice to Sunday’s historic opener.

“It’s almost like the perfect game,” said United boss Stoney, who was still playing for Liverpool at the turn of the year.

“The only better thing would have been if it was a home game for us.

“But for Manchester United, there’s probably not many more bigger rivalries.

“We also know that we’ve took seven of their players – key players for them, now key players for us.

“I did play for them as well, so there’s an added bit on it but ultimately we just want to win our first game.”

Stoney has a fully-fit squad to choose from as United kicks-off a “long-term process” in which there is no pressure from on high to secure promotion from the FA Women’s Championship at the first attempt.

Their home will be the Leigh Sports Village, where season tickets are just £39 for adults or £20 for under-16s and seniors.

“I genuinely think Manchester United coming into the women’s game is massive,” Stoney said.

“One of the biggest things that has happened in the last five, 10 years – probably ever, really, because of the global reach, because of the fan base, because of the way the club does things.

“I do genuinely believe we have the opportunity to really change women’s football.”

:: Tickets for Manchester United Women’s first home game against Reading FC Women on August 25 are on sale now, priced at £5 for adults and £2.50 for under-16s and over-65s. Tickets are available at www.manutd.com