The 10 best WSL players in 2021


2021 has been a big year for WSL. The league has emerged from the pandemic strong after the 2019/20 season was abandoned, with healthy audience figures and an even larger audience on television thanks to the historic broadcasting agreement with the BBC and Sky Sports.

The best WSL players are becoming more and more widely known, not only in women’s football circles, and they are already feeding into the hype of the European Championship 2022 in England during the summer.

These are 90mins top 10 WSL players 2021 ….

All statistics for goals, assists or zeros refer to WSL appearances during the calendar year

Arsenal captain has been in top form this year / Marc Atkins / GettyImages

WSL goals: 8

After finishing strong last season and helping Arsenal win eight of their last nine WSL matches to win the third Champions League, Kim Little has continued where she left off.

Retiring from international football after the Olympics, something she admits, has helped her stay fresh and rested, the shots have so often dominated matches and found pockets between midfield and attack.

Ella Toone is fast becoming a star for Man Utd & England / Chloe Knott – Danehouse / GettyImages

WSL goals: 10WSL assists: 7

Ella Toone is an undisputed star in the future but is fast becoming a star in the present after an astonishing 12 months, taking a leading role for Manchester United who is only 22 and establishing himself with England.

Toone is the creative spark that makes a United squad that otherwise lacks attacking firepower tick. She is just as skilled at creating chances for her teammates or scoring goals herself.

Katie McCabe is game changer on Arsenal’s left flank / Alex Pantling / GettyImages

WSL goals: 7 WSL assists: 8

Whether operating at left-back or left-back, Katie McCabe continues to be one of the most dynamic players in the WSL, with her performances supporting Arsenal’s rise to the top of the table in the second half of the year.

McCabe, who has been regularly nominated for individual monthly awards, is also a great asset for Gunners on landings, often taking corners, free kicks and penalties.

Pernille Harder is still the most expensive female player in history / Alex Livesey / GettyImages

WSL goals: 9WSL assists: 1

Pernille Harder has improved since a world record transfer in 2020 and was recently voted the seventh best player in the world at the Ballon d’Or, partly as a result of her Champions League achievements.

The Dane has overshadowed some of his even more spectacular attacking partners (more on who soon), but scored one of the best WSL goals in 2021 in a Chelsea draw against Manchester United in September.

Arsenal’s Leah Williamson has been England captain this season / Harriet Lander / GettyImages

WSL clean sheets: 10

Leah Williamson has taken the step up again in 2021 and become a real leader in the back for both club and country – she was captain of the Lions during the last international breaks in September and October.

The 24-year-old adds outstanding technical quality to the Arsenal defense, as well as exceptional reading of the game. If anything, her injury absence towards the end of the year further emphasized her importance.

Lauren Hemp is usually electric for Man City / Clive Brunskill / GettyImages

WSL goals: 10WSL assists: 9

In his day, Lauren Hemp is completely unplayable, which makes life a hell of a WSL hill. Her pace, direct running and unpredictable dribbling make her so hard to hold back, while also being incredibly consistent.

The 21-year-old, who is a three-time and current PFA Young Player of the Year, helped Manchester City push Chelsea all the way to last season’s title and has been a single bright spark during a difficult first half of 2021/22.

Chelsea are so defensively strong because of Magda Eriksson / Visionhaus / GettyImages

WSL clean sheets: 14

Leadership and class best describe what Magdalena Eriksson gives Chelsea. The Swede got his hands on another WSL trophy at the end of last season, part of a possible domestic treble.

Chelsea’s back line is often impenetrable with Eriksson – 14 WSL clean sheets when she has played this year – and she also improves the environment, which is the hallmark of a world-class defender.

Vivianne Miedema is now WSL’s leading goal scorer of all time / James Chance / GettyImages

WSL goals: 14WSL assists: 6

In October, Vivianne Miedema scored her milestone 50th WSL goal, breaking the league record of all time. For the rest of 2021, she has only increased her speech.

Miedema’s game contains the very best features of both a “number nine” and a “number 10”, just as convenient to drop deep to create chances as she completes them herself.

Chelsea’s Fran Kirby scooped last season’s individual WSL awards / Visionhaus / GettyImages

WSL goals: 20WSL assists: 11

Chelsea’s Fran Kirby ended the 2020/21 season in May with a clean sweep of the PFA, FWA and WSL awards for Player of the Year, highlighting her remarkable return to world class after a career-threatening illness.

This latter half of the calendar year has seen a continuation of that in WSL. Kirby continues to be a productive goal scorer and assistant, with an impressive 31 goal contributions in 2021.

Sam Kerr finished third in the Ballon d’Or 2021 / James Gill – Danehouse / GettyImages

WSL goals: 22WSL assists: 9

Only Champions League-winning duo Alexia Putellas and Jenni Hermoso were considered better in the world than Sam Kerr at the Ballon d’Or 2021, much to the praise of the Australian superstar.

It took a while for Kerr to settle in the WSL, but her second calendar year in England has really been phenomenal. She finished last season with the Gold Boot and so far in 2021/22 has a goal on average every 65 minutes.

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