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Rachel Daly – The striker born to be special

Scoring goals at an elite level is an incredibly difficult thing to do, but some people make it look easy! All eyes turn to Aston Villa superstar, Rachel Daly, who recently won the Women’s Super League Golden Boot this season.

Her 22 strikes in as many games were enough to beat off Manchester City striker, Khadija Shaw at the death. In all competitions this season, she managed 30 goals in as many matches once more. Her goals have helped fire Aston Villa to their best ever finish in the WSL, a respectable fifth place.

Not many saw this achievement coming. None more so than Villa manager Carla Ward who admitted that they hoped Daly would score eight goals this season. She has far surpassed that. In fact, the England international became the first English player since Ellen White in 2018 to win the Golden Boot. And she also claims the title of being the first English player to score twenty or more goals in the topflight. At 31-years-old, it’s never too late to kick start and push on further.

Daly was only signed last summer by the Villains from USA side, Houston Dash, the striker was brought back home after spending almost her entire career in North America. A spell at Lincoln City, before a brief loan period at West Ham were the only experiences Daly has had in England. You wouldn’t have thought it after watching her put fear into defenders faces this season.

A 0-2 win at Arsenal on Saturday ensured that Villa ended the season with celebrations. A fifth-place finish cemented, and Daly’s first-half goal which clinched the Golden Boot.

However, the 31-year-old will still have some work to do if she wants to be England’s number one striker. Often deployed as a left-back under Lionesses manager, Sarina Wiegman, Daly has struggled to convince Wiegman that she is best suited leading the line. Capped 61 times by England, Alessia Russo is currently favoured, but after the season Daly has had where she has earned the title of the most lethal in the country, surely, she has given Wiegman something to think about for the World Cup this summer.

However you see it, Daly has exceeded expectations by remarkably, quite some distance. Carla Ward has claimed she’s ‘the best forward in the country’; Wiegman might disagree to some extent. Importantly, Daly must back up her performances this season and carry them into 2023-24. That is where she will establish herself as a potent, lethal striker.

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