Assessing the 8 WSL Young Player of the Year Contenders

Vivianne Miedema
Chelsea v Arsenal - FA Women's Continental League Cup Final | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The WSL season had been ticking over nicely prior to the coronavirus outbreak, with proceedings finely poised at both the top and bottom of the league.

While collectively Chelsea and Manchester City have been the standout performers in the league, a selection of young players have caught the eye with head-turning individual displays.

The PFA Awards were scheduled for the end of April, but these have been pushed back due to the coronavirus, and may not take place altogether. Who is in contention to scoop the PFA Young Player of the Year Award?

Lauren James

Lauren James
Manchester United v Chelsea FC - FA Women's Continental League Cup: Semi-Final | Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

The Manchester United forward has enjoyed a superb maiden WSL season, demonstrating an intelligence and skill well beyond her 18 years.

James' bravery and willingness to try something a little bit different stand out - she's the sort of player you look forward to watching week in, week out.

The 18-year-old has hit six goals this season, including a couple of superb solo efforts against Liverpool and Everton. An England call up must surely be just around the corner.

Lauren Hemp

Lauren Hemp
Manchester City v Arsenal - Barclays FA Women's Super League | Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

Hemp won the PFA Young Player of the Year Award while at Bristol City back in 2018, and should be in contention for the main award too, such is her importance for Manchester City this season.

Nothing phases the 19-year-old. The bigger the occasion, the bigger her performance.

Having spent the season terrorising full-backs, she popped up with two crucial goals in the space of a month against title rivals Chelsea and Arsenal. Despite still being a teenager, she is fast becoming one of Man City's most dependable players.

Chloe Kelly

Chloe Kelly
Everton v Reading - Barclays FA Women's Super League | Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Having always been supremely technically gifted, the talented 22-year-old has added goals and big performances to her game this season.

Kelly has predominantly featured out wide or as a number 10, but only strikers Vivianne Miedema, Beth England and Pauline Bremer - who all play for top three sides - have scored more than the Everton midfielder's nine goals this season.

These are not your run of the mill, scrappy finishes either. Kelly has an eye for the spectacular, including two stunning goal of the season contenders in a 2-0 victory over Bristol City at the start of the season.

Vivianne Miedema

Vivianne Miedema
Arsenal v Bristol City - Barclays FA Women's Super League | Kate McShane/Getty Images

It's remarkable to think that record breaking goalscorer Miedema can still be considered a contender for the Young Player of the Year Award.

Despite being her country's all-time top scorer, and holding the record for the most WSL goals in a single season, Miedema is still just 23.

It's been another impressive season for the laid back Dutch forward, who has chipped in with 14 goals and eight assists for Arsenal. All while making it look completely effortless.

Ellie Roebuck

Ellie Roebuck
Manchester City v Chelsea - Barclays FA Women's Super League | Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

The women's game has made huge strides in the goalkeeping department in the past decade - gone are the days of Rachel Brown starting in the FA Cup final as a 15-year-old.

Therefore the fact that Roebuck is Manchester City number one and arguably the finest goalkeeper in the WSL at the age of 20 is just ridiculous.

Exceptional with her feet and a fantastic shot stopper, Roebuck has been an integral part of the WSL's meanest back five.

Ebony Salmon

Ebony Salmon
Chelsea v Bristol City - Barclays FA Women's Super League | Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Bristol City are not only in with a fighting chance of staying up, but are actually currently outside the relegation zone, and they are indebted to Salmon for that.

The 19-year-old has contributed to 66% of Bristol's goals this season, with five goals and an assist.

Salmon's ability to find the net has been crucial in their bid to avoid the drop, with the forward scoring the decisive goals in the club's only two wins this season against Manchester United and Birmingham. You dread to think where Bristol would be without her.

Erin Cuthbert

Erin Cuthbert
Manchester United v Chelsea FC - FA Women's Continental League Cup: Semi-Final | Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

Having been nominated for the main award last season, Cuthbert has carried on from where she left off this time around.

The 21-year-old has demonstrated her versatility this season, cropping up centrally, out wide and up front, and chipping in with two goals and four assists in the process.

Her skill, energy and willingness to run at players make Cuthbert one of the WSL's most exciting players, and she has been an integral part of Chelsea's bid to go unbeaten this season.

Leah Williamson

The die hard Arsenal defender has shown off the different facets to her game this season, featuring in defensive midfield, and as part of a back four and back three.

Williamson's intelligence and reading of the game mean she is not just a vital asset to the Gunners defensively, but coupled with her distribution, she is often the trigger for an Arsenal attack.

The cross-field diagonal that she has in her locker has been the source for a selection of Arsenal goals this season, and the 23-year-old has long been touted as a future captain for club and country.