Assessing the 8 Candidates for the WSL Player of the Season Award

Pre-coronavirus, the WSL season had been simmering away nicely. It was finely poised at the league summit following Manchester City and Chelsea’s thrilling 3-3 draw, while it was too tight to call at the bottom, with just three points separating Bristol City, Birmingham and Liverpool.

The PFA Player of the Year Award should have been dished out at the end of April, but this has been pushed back – or could be cancelled altogether – due to coronavirus.

After countless head turning individual performances, there are a selection of players in contention to be named PFA Player of the Year. Who is in the running to claim the top individual prize in the WSL?

Beth England

Chelsea v Birmingham City – Barclays FA Women’s Super League

The Chelsea forward has enjoyed a fantastic season, and is the WSL’s joint top goalscorer with 14 goals in 15 appearances.

England did not burst onto the scene – her success story is a result of sheer graft, and this season she has added a match winning quality to her game, scoring goals against Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City that were both crucial and stunning in equal measure.

When Australian superstar Sam Kerr was signed in January, some questioned what that would mean for England. But the 25-year-old had already made herself undroppable by that point, and Chelsea manager Emma Hayes changed the Chelsea formation to accommodate the pair of them.

Lauren Hemp

Manchester City v Bristol City – Barclays FA Women’s Super League

Considered one of the frontrunners for the Young Player of the Year Award – an honour she scooped while at Bristol City back in 2018 – Hemp’s importance for Manchester City this season means she must be in contention for the main award too.

The 19-year-old plays with all the fearlessness and bravery that reflect her age, but has coupled this with a remarkable consistency and maturity.

Hemp’s ability to run at full-backs time and time again had made her one of the most exciting players to watch this season. She has never shied away from the big occasion, popping up with vital goals against Arsenal and Chelsea.

Vivianne Miedema

Chelsea v Arsenal – FA Women’s Continental League Cup Final

The Arsenal striker has picked up from where she left off last season, joining England at the summit of the scoring charts with 14 goals.

Six of those came in a ridiculous individual performance against Bristol City, where Miedema scored six and set up four during Arsenal’s 11-1 victory.

Her intelligence, skill and vision make her unplayable at times, and the Dutch striker’s selflessness despite her astounding goal scoring record make her such a complete centre forward. In front of goal, there is no one calmer.

Chloe Kelly

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton – Barclays FA Women’s Super League

Everything has fallen into place for Kelly this season, and she has shouldered the responsibility of being one of Everton’s most important players at the age of just 22.

The former Arsenal player has hit nine goals from midfield – only forwards Pauline Bremer, England and Miedema have scored more – and Kelly has had a hand in 47% of Everton’s WSL goals this season.

Kelly has always been blessed with flair and skill, but it is her eye for the spectacular and ability grab the game by the scruff of the neck that have blossomed during the campaign.

Guro Reiten

Manchester United v Chelsea FC – FA Women’s Continental League Cup: Semi-Final

The versatile Norwegian has seamlessly adapted to life in the WSL following her move to Chelsea in 2019.

Reiten has carried a wicked threat from out wide with her supreme delivery, chipping in with eight assists and five goals over the course of the season.

During Chelsea’s vital clash with title rivals Arsenal, Reiten ran riot down the left flank. Her pinpoint delivery caused chaos, and she had a hand in each of the four goals as the Blues dealt the Gunners a telling title blow.

Caroline Weir

Chelsea v Manchester City – Barclays FA Women’s Super League

The Scotland international has been a pivotal part of City’s title charge, helping to pass teams to death alongside midfield partner Keira Walsh.

This is Weir’s seventh season of English top flight football, and she has always been a highly dependable WSL player. But this season she has reached new levels, turning games on their head with flashes of individual brilliance.

The 24-year-old’s delivery from set pieces has caused opponents all kind of problems, and she’s hit her fair share of spectacular goals to boot – the stunning solo winner against Manchester United on the opening day of the season was merely a sign of things to come.

Millie Turner

Manchester United v Everton – Barclays FA Women’s Super League

Manchester United have not once looked out of place during their maiden top flight season, and although young forward Lauren James has often stolen the headlines, former centre back Casey Stoney’s team’s defensive solidity has been their greatest strength.

United have conceded just 12 goals in 14 matches (only Chelsea and Manchester City have shipped fewer) and are indebted to defender Turner for doing so.

The 23-year-old’s composure and ability to read the game have helped the Red Devils out on numerous occasions this season. An England call-up must be on the cards sooner rather than later.

Leah Williamson

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal – Barclays FA Women’s Super League

The Arsenal defender just seems to be getting better and better, and has once again reached new heights this year after a series of commanding performances in the heart of the Arsenal defence.

Williamson has demonstrated her versatility this season with forays into midfield, and has proved just as effective when playing in a back four or back three.

Having spent her youth career in central midfield, Williamson’s ball playing skills always stand out, with her eye for the cross field diagonal crucial to a selection of Gunners goals this season.


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