Thursday, June 13, 2024

Five of the key players behind Chelsea’s latest WSL success

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Chelsea stormed back late in the campaign to claim a fifth straight Women’s Super League title and deliver a final trophy to departing boss Emma Hayes.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the key players who led the Blues’ march to another victory.

Lauren James

Lauren James is one of Chelsea’s stand-outs (John Walton/PA)

As the 2023-24 season started,  22-year-old was coming off a breakthrough Women’s World Cup with first-time finalists England where she scored three times and added the same number of assists across five matches.

The dynamic attacker shone, stepping up in the wake of Sam Kerr’s anterior cruciate ligament injury and netting 13 goals, good enough for runner-up to Manchester City’s Khadija Shaw in the Golden Boot race.

Hannah Hampton

Hannah Hampton moved from Aston Villa
Hannah Hampton moved from Aston Villa (Nick Potts/PA)

England keeper Hampton signed from Aston Villa last summer and did not make her WSL debut until November, but her star has steadily risen since – and looks set to feature far more in the first half next season following the departure of former first-choice keeper Ann-Katrin Berger to Gotham FC last month.

The 23-year-old earned the praise of boss Hayes, who said of the Birmingham native: “I say this as the future USA coach: England are so lucky.”

Aggie Beever-Jones

Aggie Beever-Jones has been another star
Aggie Beever-Jones has been another star (Adam Davy/PA)

Beever-Jones signed her first professional Chelsea contract in July 2021 but spent her first two seasons out on loan, first with Bristol City then Everton.

She has enjoyed a standout first season after returning to her parent club, scoring 11 times in the WSL – in the process impressing England boss Sarina Wiegman, who handed the 20-year-old a first call-up this week.

Erin Cuthbert

Erin Cuthbert has been outstanding
Erin Cuthbert has been outstanding (Nick Potts/PA)

Cuthbert’s efforts can sometimes fly under the radar, but after embracing a positional switch to her preferred midfield during the 2021-22 season has excelled, Hayes even suggesting at one point this season that the Scot was “in the form of her career at Chelsea.”

She also netted some of Chelsea’s most memorable goals of the season – including the winner in the Blues’ historic Women’s Champions League semi-final first leg in Barcelona, and was often the one Hayes entrusted with the captain’s armband during Millie Bright’s long recovery from a knee injury.

Nathalie Bjorn

Nathalie Bjorn has been a key performer
Nathalie Bjorn has been a key performer (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Hayes said she had long admired Bjorn before signing the Swedish defender from Everton in January on a three-and-a-half year deal that looks to prove another prudent signing.

The 27-year-old settled in quickly, scoring her first goal in March and was praised by her boss for her steady calm and a maturity Hayes felt her side had been craving in the absence of their captain.

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