Fran Kirby: Chelsea and England forward scoops FWA player of the year award for second time

Chelsea and England forward Fran Kirby has been voted the Football Writers' Association's women's footballer of the year for the second time in her career.

Kirby has scored 25 goals in all competitions this season to help Chelsea retain the Women's Super League title and win the League Cup.

"You never get to win these awards without the players you play with and the staff you work with," Kirby said.

The 27-year-old also won the inaugural award in 2018.

Kirby could add another trophy to her collection this season when Chelsea face Barcelona in Sunday's Women's Champions League final in Gothenburg.

She was the unanimous choice for the FWA award from a panel of more than 30 football writers who specialise in the women's game.

"When I first started off this year, I didn't have any expectations to win awards like these, so it is really special and something that I am really, really proud of," Kirby said.

Kirby's Chelsea team-mate Sam Kerr, the WSL's golden boot winner with 21 goals, came second in the vote with Manchester City and England forward Chloe Kelly third.

"For me this year I have just seen a real different mindset from everyone, myself included, from three years ago," Kirby added.

"It is a really confident group and I think for me what has been the biggest difference is the drive from every player, not moments here and there - it has been consistent all the way through."

Kirby's achievement is even more remarkable as it came after her rehabilitation from a diagnosis of pericarditis.

"It was difficult to have to start from scratch - I had no fitness level, I had not kicked a football in six months," she said.

"I think for me that was the hardest part, trying to get and build my level back up again, to come back in and not be the one who is getting carried or can't perform at the level that everyone else has gone to."

"The biggest thing that I have been proud of this year is how much I have just enjoyed playing football again."

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