The Football Writers Association (FWA) has presented its own prominent honour - Footballer of the Year -, a prestigious acknowledgment bestowed upon the player who garners the highest number of votes from a panel of nearly 400 journalists, each a respected member of the FWA.
In this year's contest, the FWA's Women's Footballer of the Year was conferred upon Matildas luminary Sam Kerr. Kerr, a superlative figure for Chelsea in the Women's Super League (WSL), has been a veritable sensation, registering an impressive 10 goals across her 18 appearances.
This marks the second consecutive year that the Australian marvel has clinched the award, a feat that aligns her with Chelsea cohort Fran Kirby as the sole dual recipients of this distinguished recognition. She also becomes the first-ever back-to-back winner of the FWA award.
Aston Villa's formidable striker Rachel Daly, who boasts an astounding 20 goals in as many appearances this season, claimed the runner-up position in the voting. Completing the top trio was none other than Kerr's Chelsea teammate, Lauren James.
While it may be argued that the Australian titan hasn't fully demonstrated her characteristic goal-scoring prowess this year, Kerr has consistently shone in pivotal games for her club, notably scoring in both fixtures against title contenders Manchester United. Chelsea's manager Emma Hayes underscores that Kerr's value extends far beyond her scoring record.
Hayes, speaking to Sky Sports, highlights Kerr's broader contributions, saying "Her clutch performance in big moments is undeniable, but it's the other aspects of her game that often go unrecognized. She's a phenomenal team player, diligently working out of possession, doing the thankless tasks."
"She's a remarkable talent," Hayes adds, "and her brilliant adaptation to the game has made her a player we can depend on."
The coming months promise to be eventful for Kerr. Her immediate focus is on this weekend's FA Cup final against Manchester United. This is swiftly followed by a frantic dash towards the climax of the FA WSL, where her Chelsea side is primed to secure the title once more. And let's not forget the imminent FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup slated for July on Kerr's home soil.
In the men's category, the FWA's Men's Footballer of the Year was bagged by Erling Haaland. The Norwegian has delivered a season nothing short of extraordinary, shattering goal records in all directions. The Manchester City striker took a moment from his preparations for this weekend's EPL clash against Everton to express his congratulations to Sam on securing the award for the second successive year.