The Professional Footballers’ Association has announced the winners of the prestigious 2020/21 awards. Fran Kirby and Lauren Hemp have been named the Women’s Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year respectively.
For the third time in her career, Hemp has scooped this accolade. This is the second consecutive season the 20-year-old has been acknowledged for her impressive performances with Manchester City. GiveMeSport Women takes a look back at the winger’s 2020/21 campaign and what led to another Young Player of the Year award.
As Man City challenged Chelsea at the top of the Women’s Super League table, Hemp was one of the standout players involved in her side’s battle for the title.
The youngster contributed six goals and eight assists – finishing the season as the club’s fourth-highest scorer, behind Caroline Weir, Ellen White, and Chloe Kelly. She was also a real thorn in Chelsea’s side when City hosted the Blues at the Academy Stadium, in what would prove to be the 2020/21 WSL title decider.
Hemp bagged the goal to equal the scoring and pile the pressure on the visitors. A thumping effort from the winger in the last moments of the match would’ve surely given the Citizens all three points if it wasn’t for Ann-Katrin Berger’s heroics between the sticks.
Champions League efforts
Man City were disappointed when they were knocked out of the Champions League at the hands of eventual winners Barcelona. However, they enjoyed a strong run up to the quarter-finals, registering huge results including their 8-0 aggregate win over Fiorentina.
Hemp made four appearances in Europe and registered two goals and three assists. This averages out to 1.25 goalscoring contributions every match, which are seriously impressive numbers for such a young player.
Even during the driest of spells against Barcelona, Hemp was leading the attack with her commanding runs down the flank and even drifting more centrally to take on the backline directly. She will definitely be an important asset when City take to the European stage once again next season.
Hemp missed the start of the season due to a hamstring injury. She sat out the postponed 2019/20 FA Cup fixtures, where City went on to retain their title after a thrilling win over Everton in the final.
Hemp picked up the injury during the Community Shield clash against Chelsea in August 2020. She was out of action for several weeks, missing important opening games in the WSL. However, despite her setback, she made her return to the starting eleven and wasted no time in showing Man City fans what they had been missing.
Her attitude towards picking herself up and dusting herself off is beyond her years. Hemp has shown that she is the ultimate professional, despite still being classed as a young player of the game.
Team GB call-up
To round off an already impressive season for Hemp, she received the news that she will be representing Great Britain at this summer’s Olympics.
The 20-year-old is the youngest player in Hege Riise’s squad and will feature alongside 10 of her Man City teammates.
“I quite like being one of the young ones,” Hemp said after being unveiled as a Team GB player. “I’m just going to go and absorb everything. If you’d told me about 10 years ago that in 10 years’ time I’d be competing at an Olympics aged 20 I probably wouldn’t have believed you.
“As a young player, I feel like I am still quite confident going into the Games – I’m ready to prove why I should be there.”