Fran Kirby has scored 22 goals in all competitions for Chelsea this season
Chelsea striker Fran Kirby has been crowned the winner of the inaugural Women’s Footballer of the Year award from the Football Writers’ Association.
The 24-year-old England international has scored 22 goals for the Women’s Super League leaders in all competitions this season.
Kirby secured more than 50 per cent of the vote after a shortlist was drawn up, the FWA said, with Euro 2017 Golden Boot winner Jodie Taylor finishing second.
Former Reading player Kirby said on the FWA website: “I was really proud to be nominated in the first place but to actually win is a real honour. To be the first recipient of this honour and award is so special.”
The accolade follows two days after Kirby won the PFA Women’s Player of the Year award.
As well as their WSL title pursuit, Chelsea are chasing silverware in the Women’s FA Cup and face Arsenal in the final of that competition on May 5.
They will also be hoping to turn around a 3-1 deficit when they play Wolfsburg in Germany on Sunday in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final.
Kirby, who was nicknamed ‘Mini Messi’ by former England Women manager Mark Sampson during the 2015 World Cup, has already established herself as a key figure in new Lionesses boss Phil Neville’s team.
Kirby will collect her award at the FWA awards dinner in London on May 10.
Her England colleagues Lucy Bronze, Izzy Christiansen and Jordan Nobbs were also on the shortlist.
FWA chairman Patrick Barclay said: “I can’t help thinking of our first Footballer Of The Year vote back in 1947, when the winner was one of England’s most admired players of all time, Sir Stanley Matthews.
“Now, after Stan, comes Fran – she’ll always be first in what will become a long list of Women’s Footballers Of The Year.”