With the 2023 Women’s World Cup just around the corner, here are five players from the Women’s Super League who could star this summer.
32 of the best national teams in the Women’s game descend on Australia & New Zealand for what promises to be a month of scintillating football.
The United States head into the 2023 tournament having won the previous two editions. However, they may not have it so easy this time around. The likes of France, England, and Spain provide world-class threats from Europe.
Meanwhile, hosts Australia will be looking to make a splash in front of their home fans – and deliver their first-ever World Cup.
But which players may stand out? Names such as Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, USA’s Alex Morgan, and the legendary Marta are all primed for the big stage. But what about stars from the Women’s Super League?
Here, we have identified 5 WSL players to look out for at this summer’s Women’s World Cup. We have selected five players from five different nations, just to add an extra challenge.
Sam Kerr – Australia & Chelsea
Okay, so this one is an easy choice. Kerr may have had a down year scoring-wise (12 WSL goals in 2022/23 compared to 20 in 2021/22 and 21 the year prior) but she still commands the utmost respect.
Although known for her goalscoring exploits, Kerr has developed an increased role in her team’s buildup play. For instance, she had five WSL assists last season and was in the top ten for big chances created.
The Chelsea forward will have the proud honour of leading Australia at their home World Cup this month. With this, of course, comes the pressure of trying to inspire the hosts to glory.
But with her vast experience and prolific goal rate (60 in 103 international appearances) the Matildas will be relying on their star to take them far into the tournament.
Khadija “Bunny” Shaw – Jamaica & Manchester City
One of two Man City players on this list, Khadija Shaw will look to lead Jamaica on a surprise adventure at the Women’s World Cup.
The Caribbean nation will be making just their second WWC appearance after playing in the 2019 edition. They will hope to have a better showing than zero points and a group stage exit this time, though.
Shaw enjoyed a breakout season with City in the WSL and will hope to carry that forward to the summer. She finished 2022/23 with an excellent 20 league goals, plus proved a constant threat to the opposition. For example, she led the entire division in shots-on-target per game and shots per game.
The Jamaican side will thus lean heavily on their most important star. But with a group boasting France and Brazil, it may be difficult for them to make it to the knockouts.
Expect “Bunny” to be at the forefront of any Jamaican success, though. Her presence and movement will prove a handful for even the best defenders in the world.
Rachel Daly – England & Aston Villa
The top scorer in the 2022/23 WSL could certainly be one of the players to light up the Women’s World Cup.
Daly had an incredible 2022/23 domestically, firing in 22 goals in 22 WSL appearances to help Villa finish fifth. The 31-year-old even added five assists, giving her an average of over 1 G+A per game.
However, the striker still faces stiff competition to start in Sarina Wiegman’s side. Alessia Russo has been the general first choice at CF, with Daly just getting one start to Russo’s two in Spring’s Arnold Clark Cup. Therefore, Daly may have to make an impact off the bench.
With being in such good form, though, an impactful substitute appearance is not out of the question. From there, the sky’s the limit – especially as the Lionesses expect to make a deep run at the WWC.
Frida Maanum – Norway & Arsenal
Maanum’s compatriot Guro Reiten would have been a great choice here, but we have instead gone for the Arsenal star.
Injuries threatened to ruin the Gunners’ 2022/23 season – until Maanum stepped up in a big way. The 24-year-old played across Arsenal’s central midfield, frequently coming up with key goals and providing boundless energy. As a result, the North London side finished third to secure Champions League football for next season.
On the international stage, fans can expect more of the same. Despite being just 24, Maanum has been a reliable name to call upon for Norway. She has 66 appearances for the Scandinavian country already, as well as 11 goals.
The 1995 Women’s World Cup winners will thus hope that she can help this current group of players reach the promised land.
Yui Hasegawa – Japan & Manchester City
Finally, the fifth star on our list of WSL players to look out for at the Women’s World Cup is Yui Hasegawa.
The Japan international had a quietly solid first season in Manchester, despite a slightly changed role. Hasegawa operated slightly deeper in midfield than some expected – yet it paid off. She had one of the best pass completion rates in the league, regularly starting off attacks from a turnover.
Additionally, this deeper role allowed her to utilise her strengths in reading the game. From this, she averaged 1.9 interceptions per game – the second-highest rate by a midfielder.
All this should help as Hasegawa tries to lead Japan to their second Women’s World Cup. “Nadeshiko” will look to Hasegawa and her WSL counterparts to get them through to the latter stages of the tournament.
There are so many Women’s Super League players that could have a breakout Women’s World Cup. Fans should expect an incredible tournament in Australia & New Zealand, which kicks off with New Zealand taking on Norway on Thursday 20 July.
Featured image credit: Getty