Women's football: Liverpool Ladies boss hails midfielder Katie Zelem's potential

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Last Updated: 14/11/14 5:06pm

Matt Beard: Katie Zelem can be one of England's best

Liverpool Ladies manager Matt Beard says midfielder Katie Zelem is the club’s very own Frank Lampard.

Zelem won the club’s Young Player of the Year award on Monday night and has been shortlisted for the FA WSL Development League Player of the Year accolade.

The youngster faces competition for the award – one of 10 that will be presented at Friday’s FA Women’s Football Awards - from Arsenal's Carla Humphrey and Aston Villa's Natasha Baptiste.

And Liverpool boss Beard believes the 18-year-old, who signed for the club last year from Manchester United, expects Zelem to be a top player for many years to come.

Proud

“Katie deservedly won our Young Player of the Year Award and her game has come on so much this season,” Beard told Sky Sports News HQ. “Everyone at the club is really proud of her and Katie has got a great future in the game.

“We like to get the ball down and play, and  technically Katie is a very good player. If I was to compare her to a player in the men’s game I’d say she is very much like Frank Lampard in the way she arrives in the box. She scores lots of goals as a midfield player.

“Katie has got a great career ahead of her and there’s no doubt that she can be one of the best players in the country in the future.”

Zelem made nine appearances for Liverpool after overcoming a serious injury that kept her out of action during the first half of the season.

“I would have liked her to play more minutes but she broke her collarbone on England duty then she went to the U20 World Cup when we had three games in that period,” Beard said.

Technically

“That’s limited her game time a little bit but she’s been really good since especially in training. As long as she learns from the players around her she’ll be fine.

“We have lots of players who do different things technically and she has learnt from that. Amanda Da Costa, who unfortunately is no longer with us, was really good with her feet.

“And Fara Williams has an incredible range of passing and a great football brain. I genuinely think Fara Williams is one of the reasons Katie Zelem came to this club.”

Beard is nominated for the Manager of the Year award but he says his nomination speaks volumes about everyone associated with the club.

He said: "I’ve got a good team around me including my sports scientist, my physio, my analysis girl, my assistant and my goalkeeping coach. Without your backroom team you’re nothing. 

"The first thing I said when I won it last year was that it’s not about me as a manager, I’m just the one who stands up there and fronts it. It’s about everyone, me my staff and my players."