90 MIN 🔵 Rachel Daly wins Barclays WSL Player of the Season

Aston Villa striker Rachel Daly has been named 2022/23 Barclays WSL Player of the Season for her outstanding campaign that could yet finish with the league’s Golden Boot.

She had already been Barclays WSL Player of the Month for September and November.

Daly had become known as a full-back because of the role she has played with England for a number of years. But the 31-year-old played up front for former club Houston Dash in the NWSL and was brought back to English football by Villa boss Carla Ward last summer for precisely that reason.

Aside from a loan spell at West Ham in the first half of the 2020/21 season, Daly hadn’t played at club level in her home country since turning out for Lincoln in the first two years of the WSL era.

But she didn’t let that absence slow her down and was immediately off the mark when she scored twice and assisted another in a landmark 4-3 Villa win over Manchester City in the opening game.

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Daly continued to score goals, netting a hat-trick against Reading in November, and has accelerated in the second half of the season in particular. She got another hat-trick against Reading earlier this month and has netted recent braces against Leicester, Tottenham and Manchester United.

With one game of the WSL to play, Daly leads Manchester City striker Khadija Shaw by three goals in the Golden Boot race. Having overtaken the Jamaican only recent because of her sudden upsurge, Daly currently has 21 to Shaw’s 18, meaning it would take a hat-trick for the latter just to go level.

As a team, Villa are already assured of a fifth place WSL finish, having masively improved from 10th and ninth in their previous two top flight seasons.

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