13: Fran Kirby
The England forward makes a big leap in the charts after playing a key role in Chelsea’s domestic double. Kirby scored at vital moments against Birmingham and Arsenal, and hit two in the Champions League quarter-final against Montpellier. She was just as deadly in the FA Cup, providing a decisive double against Manchester City in the semi-final and a further goal at Wembley as her side beat Arsenal to the trophy. This season the big contributions have continued, most notably a Champions League hat-trick against Fiorentina in October. For the national team Kirby has been used in a deeper role but scored in both recent friendlies against Brazil and Australia.
Emma Hayes, Chelsea manager:
“Fran is one of the best players in Europe at what she does. She’s had a wonderful year in terms of both scoring and assisting, and her excellent work from the front. Fran is so hard working and I always tell people that you have to see just how much work she does behind the scenes. To come back from injury and lead the way in terms of appearances and goals is something she deserves immense credit for. She got better and better as the season went on and she’s going to keep improving.”
Phil Neville, England head coach:
“I’ll never forget Fran’s performance in my first game in charge – our 4-1 win over France in the SheBelieves Cup back in March. She was exceptional in the no.10 role and has performed extremely well since. Fran’s a deserving Ballon d’Or nominee. She puts in consistently strong performances for her club and deservedly has the titles to show for it.”