Chelsea's Fran Kirby wins PFA Women's Player of the Year prize

By PA Sport

Image: Fran Kirby has been named the PFA Women's Player of the Year

Chelsea Ladies striker Fran Kirby's excellent form has been recognised by her peers as she won the vote for the Professional Footballers' Association Women's Player of the Year.

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The 24-year-old has been an inspiration for the swashbuckling Blues this year, and has scored 22 goals in all competitions so far this term.

Kirby was one of five players from unbeaten Women's Super League leaders Chelsea to be shortlisted for the award, with Millie Bright, Ji So-yun, Maren Mjelde and Ramona Bachmann joining her and Manchester City's Jill Scott.

"It's pretty special for me," the former Reading striker said at Sunday night's ceremony at the Grosvenor House in central London.

"It's very humbling because it's voted for by the people I play against week in, week out, so I'm absolutely delighted to win.

"A massive thank you to everyone who has voted for me and to my team-mates who helped me get here."

She continued: "In every game that I play in, I try to do something that I'll remember after the game.

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"It's been such a whirlwind of a season and, having come off an injury last season, the highlight has been being able to play week in, week out without getting any injuries."

Image: Kirby has scored 22 goals for Chelsea Ladies this season

Kirby was speaking after picking up her award, just hours after playing in Chelsea's 3-1 defeat to Wolfsburg in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.

Emma Hayes' side head to Germany for the return fixture next Sunday, before the FA Women's Cup final against Arsenal and the conclusion of a memorable WSL campaign.

Bristol City Women's Lauren Hemp was named winner of the Women's Young Player of the Year prize.

Just 17 years old, the striker was crowned England Young Player of the Year in September.

Hemp was shortlisted alongside the Manchester City trio of Ellie Roebuck, Georgia Stanway and Keira Walsh, as well as Chelsea's Erin Cuthbert and Everton Ladies' Gabby George.

"At 16 I moved from Norwich to Bristol, away from my family and that was hard for me at the start," Hemp said at the ceremony on Sunday evening.

"Even a month before [making the move] I didn't think it was possible and that I'd actually do it because I used to get homesick a lot.

"But since then I've become more independent. So much has happened to me, things that I wouldn't even have dreamed of.

"I'm loving it at the moment. Everything is going so well for me at Bristol. I hope I can keep that going for the rest of the season."

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