98. Keira Walsh
After missing out on our top 100 in 2016 due to an injury that curtailed her first half of the year, young midfielder Keira Walsh continued to increase her reputation as a star of the future in 2017.
Walsh has become a crucial part of Nick Cushing’s plans at Manchester City and has been since she was 18. Walsh didn’t look out of place against Lyon in the Champions League and was named Player of the Match as City won the FA Cup at Wembley in May.
Walsh’s reputation was also enhanced on the international stage when she was called up by interim England head coach Mo Marley last month, making her debut from the start in a World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan.
Cool and confident on the ball and the ability to score from range, Walsh’s talents know no bounds and one can only wonder what she will achieve over the next decade.
Nick Cushing, Manchester City Women’s manager says:
“I work with Keira every day and we see what she can do. In England, we don’t have that many midfielders with a real intelligence and a real level of game intelligence, in my opinion.
“Technically she’s good, she’s dedicated, she wants to be a professional footballer for the rest of her career. She has a real understanding of the game and a real passion for the game. She watches football all the time, she watches players and her understanding of the game is unrivalled in the league. At her age, to play in the Continental Cup final at 17, to win the league at 19 and play in the Champions League now at the age of 20 shows me that in years to come we’ve got a really special player.
“She’s had two big injuries since she came here, has her progress surprised me? She surprises me every game with her level of intelligence. We brought her here on trial to be part of the development squad and she never played there because we saw her potential. We gave her an opportunity and she’s a great example for the rest of our young players.”