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Aston Villa Forward Wins Barclays Player Of The Season Award

Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji

England forward, Rachel Daly has won the Barclays Player of the Season.

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The Aston Villa forward won the best player award for the 2022/2023 English Women’s Super League (WSL) ahead of stiff opposition from the likes of Sam Kerr (Chelsea FC), Ona Batlle (Manchester United), Guro Reiten (Chelsea FC), Khadija Shaw (Manchester City) to mention a few names of the nominees’ list.

She has scored 21 goals with five assists in 21 WSL games this season for Villa marking a remarkable return to the top-flight English Women’s League.

The former Westham player joined NWSL side, Houston Dash from the London side in 2021 for her second stint with the American team before staging a return to the WSL.

She had previously spent about four years with Houston Dash before moving to Westham for the 2020/2021 season.

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The 31-year-old July 2022 Daly was included and started every game at left-back, with the England squad which won UEFA Women’s Euro 2022.

In November 2022, she started her first international match as a forward during a series of friendlies in which manager Sarina Wiegman was trying out options to replace the perennial but recently-retired number 9 Ellen White, with Daly saying “she will play wherever Wiegman needs her”.

On 19 February 2023, Daly was once again played as a center-forward in an Arnold Clark Cup match against Italy: on the occasion, she scored a brace that helped England gain a 2–1 win.


Emily Gielnik, Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah, and Ruesha Littlejohn will depart Aston Villa Women following the expiry of their respective contracts at the end of the current season.

Natasha Harding will also not be returning to the club ahead of the 2023/2024 season.

Gielnik joined the club towards the end of the 2021 summer transfer window from Swedish club Vittsjö GIK.

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The Australia international has since made 31 appearances, scoring four goals in the process.

Emily’s first strike in Villa colours would be a memorable winner at Brighton & Hove Albion, while she also found the net this season against Leicester City and AFC Fylde.

Boye-Hlorkah joined Gielnik in signing for Villa during the ’21 summer window, having been part of Everton’s first team since 2013.

As of this past weekend, the wide player has made 27 appearances for the club and scored two goals.

Strikes against Sheffield United and Sunderland came last season before the current campaign was hindered by injuries.

Littlejohn joined Villa after the 2021/2022 season had begun, initially on a short-term basis, but has remained at the club as an influential character and leader.

The Republic of Ireland international has made 30 appearances in Villa colours, most recently during our 5-0 win over Reading earlier this month.

Harding was Carla Ward’s third signing of a busy 2022 summer window, joining the club from Reading.

A useful player in several positions, Tash made six appearances in all competitions but was sidelined from November with a ruptured quadricep tendon.

The Wales international scored her only goal for the club during Conti Cup tie with Everton in October.

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