The accolades of Jamaica and Manchester City striker Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw continue to mount, as she was voted the 2023/24 Barclays Women’s Super League (WSL) Player of the Season, on Friday.

This announcement came on the heels of Thursday’s Football Writers’ Association (FWA) awards gala, where Shaw was officially presented with the FWA Women Footballer of the Year trophy, alongside fellow Manchester City star Phil Foden.

To say these individual acclaims are very much deserving would be an understatement given her exploits this season, as she has been a key figure in City’s push for the WSL title.

The 27-year-old, whose season was cut short due to a broken leg, has registered 21 goals in just 18 appearances, while also providing three assists. She’s on course for another prestigious honour of finishing as the league’s top scorer, having incredibly averaged a goal every 66 minutes this season.

And it is just rewards for another phenomenal campaign in which she once again broke new ground in Gareth Taylor’s side.

Shaw is the first player to score three WSL hat-tricks in a calendar year, last year, and between November 2023 and January 2024, the forward again registered three trebles in just four matches.

Finding the net in both WSL Manchester derbies, the Jamaican’s clinical finish at the Etihad Stadium in March also saw her become City’s record goalscorer, as she swept past Georgia Stanway in the process.

Another crucial strike from Shaw came in City’s 1-0 win over Chelsea in February, as they secured the honour of being the first away side to take three points off the reigning champions at Kingsmeadow, in over three years.

In securing the Player of the Season title, the prolific Jamaican fought off the sizeable challenge of City teammate Khiara Keating, who won the Golden Glove, as well as Chelsea duo Lauren James and Niamh Charles. Arsenal’s Lotte Wubben-Moy, Tottenham Hotspurs youngster Grace Clinton, Leicester’s Jutta Rantala, and Brighton’s forward Elisabeth Terland, were also in the mix.

Chelsea go top of the Women's Super League table after edging to a 1-0 victory over Tottenham on Wednesday.

Maika Hamano scored the winning goal in the 37th minute, tapping in from the goal-line after meeting Guro Reiten's whipped cross.

The Japan international almost opened the scoring before that, sending a diving header over the bar.

Ashleigh Neville scuffed Spurs' best chance over the bar from close range just after half-time, but the Blues regained their control to see out a vital victory.

Data Debrief: In their hands

Chelsea are on course to lift their fifth consecutive WSL after securing back-to-back wins against Bristol City and Spurs, scoring nine goals without reply.

Spurs' hangover from their FA Cup defeat may have carried over here, but they were up against a Chelsea side that have only failed to score in one of their 21 league games this seaosn.

Tottenham Women manager Robert Vilahamn believes his side will use their FA Cup final defeat to start something special, rather than ending their good work.

Spurs were hammered 4-0 by Manchester United Women in Sunday's Wembley Stadium showpiece as Ella Toone and Rachel Williams were on target before Lucia Garcia's second-half double.

Vilahamn's side failed to manage a shot on target but the Spurs boss suggested his team will catch up to the women's elite clubs.

"The main thing I said was this is not the end, it is the beginning," Vilahamn said.

"We still have a gap between us and the top teams but that's normal. We are closing the gap but we haven't closed the gap yet."

Tottenham finished sixth in the Women's Super League as well as reaching this final, their first FA Cup showpiece appearance in their short history.

Vilahamn wants his Spurs players to use this defeat as motivation going forward.

"If you take away the feelings right now, you need to look at these players doing some incredible things this year," he said.

"We are at Wembley playing in front of our fans and they are actually enjoying it and staying, and supporting us after.

"We got a good experience today and we are learning how to play at Wembley more times. We need to look at it that way because the players are amazing."

Marc Skinner lauded his Manchester United Women side as "history-makers" after their first FA Cup triumph in history on Sunday.

The Red Devils swept aside Tottenham Women with a 4-0 victory at Wembley Stadium as Ella Toone and Rachel Williams were on target before Lucia Garcia's second-half double.

United missed out in the final of the Women's FA Cup last season, losing to Chelsea 1-0, but produced an emphatic response to secure the first major trophy in their history.

Having lost in Champions League qualifying, suffered group-stage elimination in the League Cup and sitting fifth in the Women's Super League, Skinner was delighted with his side's response in the capital.

The United boss told BBC One: "We are obviously not where we want in the league, right? But we are history-makers for Manchester United.

"I didn't need to remind the owners of that, they know. There is a lot of support and love for our team and the growth.

"We want to compete for titles but you all know how important adding that first piece of silverware is. We've got nothing but growth ahead."

Toone provided the first moment of magic with a rocketed right-footed finish into the top corner from the edge of the area, setting the tone on the stroke of half-time after a dominant opening 45 minutes.

"In all honesty, I felt that first half was just frustration because we didn't score, I thought we offered more of a threat, we controlled most of their threat," Skinner added.

"As much as I am exhausted now, it is a magical feeling. Tooney scored one of those goals at Leicester but it is another thing to do it at Wembley.

"I told her on the podium you have to feel it, remember it because it comes and goes too quick, and that is what she did. Congratulations to her and the team, we are FA Cup winners."

Williams added the second with her headed finish after 54 minutes, though the United forward admitted this season has been far below usual standards.

"We don't like to admit it but it does mask over the issues we've had," Williams told BBC One.

"We have had some ups and downs this year. That's for Marc [Skinner] and the backroom staff to be like 'right this is what we have to do in the summer'.

"We are going to have change things next year. We have had some injuries, three or four ACLs, at the start of the season. That's football, teams go through transition.

"You have a good year, you have a dip. Next year we might just come back bigger, better and stronger and who knows we might just be lifting the league."

Manchester United Women banished last year's FA Cup demons to lift the trophy for the first time in their history after smashing Tottenham Women 4-0 at Wembley Stadium.

United suffered a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea Women in the final of this competition last term but exacted revenge after Lucia Garcia scored twice in a comfortable win on Sunday.

Ella Toone's eye-catching strike in the first half set the tone before a goal for Rachel Williams and Garcia's double added gloss to a convincing scoreline, despite Beth England hitting the crossbar for Spurs.

Marc Skinner's side dominated the opening half as Millie Turner saw a header cleared off the line by Martha Thomas, while Williams headed over.

However, there was no stopping Toone on the stroke of half-time as she exchanged passes with Lisa Naalsund before arrowing a rocketed right-footed finish into the top corner from the edge of the area.

Further punishment followed for an underwhelming Tottenham after the interval when Williams headed down from Katie Zelem's free-kick to double United's lead in the 54th minute.

Goalkeeper Becky Spencer then handed Skinner's team more joy just three minutes later, mindlessly playing straight to Garcia, who slotted into an empty net.

Garcia capped the scoring after 74 minutes, receiving an offload from Turner before curling a delightful finish past the powerless Spencer as United secured their first major trophy in club history.

Data Debrief: United ease pain of last year

United fell short last year against Chelsea but continued their impressive record against Spurs here, extending to 13 games unbeaten against Tottenham since being founded in 2018.

This defeat will remain painful for Spurs in their first FA Cup final appearance, also ending a seven-game undefeated streak since losing to rivals Arsenal at the start of March.

Manchester United and Tottenham are both looking to win their first-ever Women's FA Cup title when they meet in the final at a sold-out Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

For the first time in 11 years, the trophy will not be lifted by Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester City, adding an extra level of excitement to an already historic final. 

United beat Chelsea 2-1 in the semi-final, earning their first-ever victory over the Blues, while Spurs came from behind to beat Leicester City 2-1 in extra time thanks to Martha Thomas' 118th-minute goal. 

It promises to be a tight contest, with very little to separate the sides in the WSL this season - United are fifth in the table, only seven points ahead of Spurs, who sit below them in sixth. 

The two sides have met 10 times in the WSL since 2019-20 and the Red Devils have come out on top, having never lost to Spurs (W8 D2), although their most recent encounter ended 2-2 in April.

Second time lucky for United?

Manchester United are featuring in the FA Cup final for the second consecutive year, having not reached this stage before 2023, and they will certainly go into this tie as the favourites.

They lost 1-0 to Chelsea last season - the last side to lose their first two finals were Bristol City in 2011 and 2013, and the Red Devils will be looking to avoid matching that piece of history. 

Whoever lifts the trophy will be the 18th different winner of the Women’s FA Cup. It will be the first time since Manchester City beat Birmingham City in 2017 that there has been a new winner in the competition.

Marc Skinner would love to bring the title to the red side of Manchester and told the reporters ahead of the game that his side are unfazed by the favourites tag.

“We have to go into this game and make it very business-related. But enjoy the moment, of course, enjoy. We've got to Wembley," said Skinner. 

"We're playing against a team that will be buoyed by that. You get an energy when it's your first final, so you're going to get an energy for that. I think there are ways that you can counteract that, and we have to try and do that. 

"But I'm not expecting this is an equal playing field going into it. And we cannot and we won't underestimate it. We know the job we've got to do."

Skinner has a strong record in the FA Cup with United, winning nine of their 11 matches, and scoring 30 goals (2.7 per game). Their only two defeats came against Man City in the fifth round in 2021-22 and in last season’s final against Chelsea.

However, Skinner believes defeat will only motivate his side to do better this time.

He added: "We have to use it as 'remember, remember', bring back those feelings and give more and give more and give more. There's nobody guaranteed to win this final. Let me be very clear on that. 

"But what we have to do is give everything in order to make sure the performance is worthy of it. And if we do that and use those experiences, the feelings of it to drive us forward, then, you know, hopefully, that will give us a little edge, and that's what you need to win the game."

Spurs a Maiden adventure

Tottenham were promoted to the WSL just five years ago and, since then, have been building and growing.

Their best-ever league standing came in the 2021-22 season when they finished in fifth. Robert Vilahamn took over as manager in July 2023, with Spurs hoping he could bring the success that he had at BK Hacken to the North London side. 

Vilahamn is no stranger to a Cup final and in his time at the Swedish club, he led them to back-to-back Cup finals. Andy Rogers, Spurs Women's managing director, praised the manager's ability when he brought him into the club, saying: "He has a track record of developing players to international level and competing for both domestic trophies and in the Champions League, demonstrating his ability to match our own ambitions and philosophy."

Spurs will feel vindicated in their choice of manager; the Swede has already improved on last season's league position of ninth - their lowest since promotion in 2019 - while also reaching the FA Cup final for the first time. 

Speaking ahead of the game, Vilahamn praised his side's progress, saying: "We all, at a big club like Tottenham Hotspur, want to be winning trophies and competing in these kind of games. 

"To get there, you have to be there and practice these things in life. Now we get a good chance in my first year to play in a final, instead of speaking about playing in a final in the future.

"Now we get that experience. The players will learn how to do it. I'm learning how to coach at Wembley. Our staff members, our social media team, everybody is learning by doing right now. I think that's a brilliant way to develop.

"For us to be here, it's not only luck. It's because we have made some really good choices this year, and last year when they started this renewal of the women's team. Everything is proof we are doing good stuff. We are already in a final, and hopefully, we're going to win a trophy already this year."

With a new team in line to win, he also spoke on the strength of women's football in England, adding: "And if you look at the final and your winner, Tottenham or Man United, I think it's a good thing for this country to get more teams in the league to compete for the trophies because you want to have a competitive league, especially in women's football. 

"There are not so many leagues out there that have so many teams that can win a league or a trophy, and that's why most of the players in Europe want to play in England and not other countries. That's why the coaches want to come here instead of other countries, so it's a big thing."

Ones to Watch

Both teams will have dangerous players in this tie and none more so than the Tottenham captain Bethany England, who is Spurs' top scorer in the FA Cup this season with three goals.

The striker has netted seven goals in her last nine appearances in the competition, including her spell at Chelsea. She featured in three previous finals for the Blues, ending on the losing side in 2016 but winning in 2021 and 2022.

Rachel Williams has scored four goals in four FA Cup appearances this season for United and is averaging a goal every 33 minutes.

She won the FA Cup with Birmingham back in 2012, scoring a 90th-minute equaliser to take the game to extra-time and, despite missing her spot-kick during the shootout, they won on penalties to lift the trophy after a 2-2 draw.

The history books

Sunday's showpiece in the capital will be the 54th Women’s FA Cup final, with none of the previous 53 ending goalless.

Only two have been drawn and decided on penalties - in 1996 when Charlton Athletic won the shoot-out after a 1-1 draw with Liverpool, while in 2012, Chelsea were unable to overcome a very strong Birmingham team, drawing 2-2.

Both teams will be looking to strike first and the team who have opened the scoring in this tie have historically gone on to lift the trophy in 23 of the last 25 FA Cup finals – the exceptions are Charlton vs Arsenal in 2007 (lost 4-1) and Chelsea vs Birmingham in 2012 (drew 2-2, lost on pens).

This tie has all the makings of a spectacular fixture for the fans, the teams and their managers, who will be relishing the chance to make history for their club.

Despite having her impressive run of form cut short due to injury, Jamaica International and Manchester City striker Khadija Shaw did enough prior to the season-ending surgery, and so it comes as no surprise that she is up for the coveted Barclays Women's Super League Player of the Season award.

Shaw, who recently copped the Football Writers' Association (FWA) Women's Footballer of the Year award, is no stranger to accolades, as she was named 2022-23 Player of the Season for Manchester City, and also pocketed a couple Player of the Month prizes since joining the club in 2021.

In fact, it is Shaw's impressive goalscoring exploit that not only propelled her to being the club's all-time leading striker, but also places City at the summit of the WSL standing, heading into their final assignment away to Aston Villa on Saturday May 18. However, their hope of clinching the title remains on edge, as they have played a game more than second-placed Chelsea.

Both Shaw and goalkeeper Khiara Keating, who has also been nominated for Barclays Women’s Super League Player of the Season award, have impressively helped Gareth Taylor’s side relentlessly pursue a second-ever league title with a string of outstanding displays.

Shaw, 27, has scored 22 goals across 25 appearances in all competitions this term – with 21 of those coming in the WSL. She recently became the Club’s all-time leading scorer with 68 goals – which she has since extended to 72 before a foot injury prematurely ended her season.

Meanwhile, Keating has performed beyond her years in the 19-year-old’s breakthrough campaign for Taylor’s team – playing every league minute in 2023/24.

The England youth international has been an integral part of the best defensive record in the division with City conceding only 14 league goals so far this term. What’s more, outstanding is that Keating has maintained nine WSL clean sheets which is the most so far across the competition.

Shaw's unmatched scoring ability, and Keating's shot stopping exploit resulted in both being placed on the short list for prestigious annual honour, alongside Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Grace Clinton (Spurs), Lauren James (Chelsea), Jutta Rantala (Leicester), Elisabeth Terland (Brighton) and Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal).

Gareth Taylor has urged Manchester City to step up and seize their moment in the Women’s Super League title race.

Chelsea returned to the summit on goal difference on Wednesday night with a 3-0 win over Aston Villa but Taylor’s team will play twice before the current champions get the chance to add to their 46-point tally.

While Chelsea switch their attention to Champions League semi-final action with Barcelona over the next two weekends, City host West Ham on Sunday before they travel to Bristol City on April 28 with the aim of being six points clear going into May.

Taylor told a press conference: “Wednesday night changed things around a little bit again but of course we play now two games before Chelsea play again, so it is an important moment for us to step up and do our bit.

“That is all we will do. Attack the next game, give it our very best and do what we can.

“Yeah, I’m excited about this next period and think it is a great opportunity for us.

“If we had looked at that at the beginning of the season, knowing that most of the time the WSL goes to the final game, I think it is a fantastic position for us to be in.

“We’ve worked so hard and we don’t want to lose that opportunity. We want to continue with it and take it all the way.”

City will have first-choice Khiara Keating in goal after she was able to shake off the knee issue which forced her to leave England national team duty earlier this month.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Adobe Women’s FA Cup (@adobewomensfacup)


A Women’s FA Cup final dress rehearsal will also take place on Sunday when Manchester United host Tottenham.

Grace Clinton will be a notable absentee due to the terms of her loan at Spurs from United and she will also be unavailable at Wembley on May 12.

Tottenham head coach Robert Vilahamn has made no secret of his desire to keep the England international beyond this season-long loan but his opposite number Marc Skinner talked up his future hopes for Clinton in a United shirt.

Skinner said: “When we signed Grace two seasons ago, it was that we saw this level of potential for sure.

“It’s really interesting talking to people around her and so on, there is still loads more we can give to her and we can keep adding to her.

“But I can’t stress this enough, the whole reason she went on loan was to be able to do that.

“We couldn’t give her the minutes that needed her to be able to do that but she has now proven she is in that space, she has had that exposure and I look forward to welcoming her back to do that for Manchester United.”

Sunday’s other fixture will see third-placed Arsenal host Leicester with the Gunners eager to close the gap on Chelsea, which stands at six points with four fixtures left to play.

Martha Thomas’ 118th-minute header sent Tottenham into a maiden Women’s FA Cup final after a pulsating 2-1 win over Leicester after extra-time.

Spurs had switched this semi-final tie to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and an attendance of 18,078 was recorded, but the visitors threatened to be party poopers when Jutta Rantala smashed home in the 12th minute.

It looked like being the winner for a Leicester side heavily affected by off-the-field matters this season with Willie Kirk sacked in March and Jennifer Foster in interim charge, but Jess Naz forced extra-time with seven minutes of normal time left.

And Robert Vilahamn’s team produced a dramatic finale when substitute Thomas headed home for her 10th goal of the campaign to send Tottenham through to next month’s final and earn them a first trip to Wembley.

These teams had met last month in a low-key Women’s Super League encounter at Brisbane Road, but Spurs switched this fixture to the men’s stadium and it was given the big-match treatment.

Home fans waved flags as the players entered the pitch, but Leicester almost silenced an expectant crowd inside three minutes only for Sam Tierney to lob wide after she spotted Becky Spencer off her line.

Tottenham soon settled with Grace Clinton pulling the strings and she sent Celin Bizet away for two fine chances, but the Norway international was denied by the legs of Lize Kop before she lifted another effort over.

But it was the visitors who took the lead.

The ball broke for CJ Bott, who recycled possession out to Rantala and she cut inside and unleashed a powerful left-footed strike from 18 yards past Spencer.

It was nearly 2-0 after 16 minutes when Deanne Rose burst down the left and crossed for Tierney, but her weak effort was saved by Spurs goalkeeper Spencer.

Chances were few and far between until Eveliina Summanen headed over from close range after an Amanda Nilden corner, but Leicester’s Lena Petermann had got a slight touch to the ball to put off the Finnish midfielder.

Leicester had penalty appeals waved away when Rose tangled with Ashleigh Neville in the area before the lively Foxes attacker fired wide as it remained 1-0 at the break.

The second period was seconds old when Rantala found Petermann inside the area, but Spurs defender Luana Buhler made a vital block.

Tottenham responded with captain Bethany England and Nilden firing off target before a corner by the latter set up an opportunity for Summanen, but she blazed over from six yards.

Vilahamn had seen enough and introduced top goalscorer Thomas with 23 minutes of normal time left before Kit Graham was also sent on.

The final roll of the dice by Vilahamn was a triple substitution in the 77th-minute and six minutes later they levelled.

It was a moment to forget for ex-Spurs midfielder Josie Green who failed to clear England’s long ball forward and Naz showed supreme composure to slot into the corner.

That goal sparked a dramatic finale with Leicester substitute Shannon O’Brien denied by Spencer, but that was bettered by Kop, who produced an excellent finger-tip save to thwart Tottenham’s Thomas deep into stoppage-time.

Extra-time was required and the visitors were inches away from a second when Rantala’s 99th-minute free-kick rattled the crossbar after a key Spencer save.

It proved decisive as with minutes left, substitute Matilda Vinberg’s whipped cross was flicked on by Buhler for Thomas to head home and spark wild celebrations in Tottenham.

Emma Hayes has insisted Chelsea’s motivation to reach another Women’s FA Cup final is not driven by her imminent exit.

It was revealed last November that the Blues boss will end her trophy-laden 12 years club at the conclusion of this campaign to take over as United States manager.

Hayes has entered the home straight of her time at Chelsea and missed out on silverware two weeks ago when Arsenal beat them 1-0 in the Women’s League Cup final.

The highly decorated Hayes courted controversy afterwards when she appeared to shove Arsenal counterpart Jonas Eidevall, but ahead of Sunday’s trip to Manchester United, the 47-year-old played down the impact of her summer departure.

She told a press conference: “I’m absolutely committed to doing everything I possibly can to help the team achieve these goals and I’m looking forward to the games.

“The team want to win for themselves. They want to win for the football club. They want to win for the families. They want to win because they’re winners.

“They’re sick to death of what they need to do for me and that’s fair, it’s not about me.

“It’s about them and us as a collective making sure we maximise the situations we are in.

“There are three pieces of silverware up for grabs and I’m very grateful to be in the position to be competing for them.”

While Chelsea eye Women’s Super League, FA Cup and Champions League success this season, United’s focus is purely on the domestic cup after an inconsistent campaign.

Marc Skinner led United to last season’s final where they lost 1-0 to Chelsea at Wembley and he knows the size of the task at Leigh Sports Village.

“I think their success over the past seasons and beyond is something that everybody wants to replicate,” Skinner acknowledged.

“It’s a tough, tough ask. Everybody goes, ‘you’ve got to beat Chelsea’… well not many teams do.

“I think, from our perspective, we have to give everything in this game and I believe on our day and when we have our qualities and we work hard, we can beat anybody.

“If we do that, then I believe we’ll be in a position to progress into the final of the FA Cup.”

The winner of Sunday’s other semi-final between Tottenham and Leicester will reach a maiden FA Cup final.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Adobe Women’s FA Cup (@adobewomensfacup)

 

Spurs switched the fixture to their men’s 62,850-seater stadium and boss Robert Vilahamn is desperate to reach Wembley in his first season in charge.

Vilahamn said: “We started our meeting with the journey we are on and that it ends at Wembley hopefully, but then everything else goes back to normal.

“I think if we have a good performance we have a good chance to win and go to Wembley.

“I just hope we can bring so many fans to stadium and make sure we do this together.

“We play for them, we don’t play for ourselves. We want to make sure we have a lot of fans at the stadium and make them proud.

“If we’re going to reach the final, we need them because they give us that extra energy.”

Meanwhile, ninth-placed Leicester will be boosted by the return of goalkeeper Janina Leitzig, who has not played since February due to a shoulder injury.

The Foxes have endured a difficult season with Willie Kirk suspended in March and subsequently dismissed weeks later, which has resulted in Jennifer Foster stepping up on an interim basis.

Foster revealed: “Janina is back at 100 per cent.

“Lize (Kop) has been playing well but it’s good to have both senior goalkeepers back in contention again to push each other.”

Ange Postecoglou has praised the “outstanding” job of Tottenham Women boss Robert Vilahamn ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final with Leicester.

Postecoglou’s side are away at Newcastle in the Premier League this weekend, which opened the door for the women’s team to play at the men’s 62,850-seater stadium for only a second time this season.

Spurs have already made history during Vilahamn’s debut campaign after they sealed a maiden FA Cup semi-final appearance last month, but they have been backed to go further and reach Wembley by the men’s boss.

“I think Rob and the girls have been outstanding this year,” Postecoglou said.

“You’ve got to remember that they’ve had a disappointing year last year. Rob has come in and he’s changed a lot of things in terms of their football. I can see that they’re building some real belief.

“It’s the semi-final of a cup and it’s great that it’s at the stadium. I’m sure the girls will get plenty of support and they’ve had a great deal of belief to get to this point.

“You need that for a cup run and hopefully that comes out again at the weekend and they get through to a final, which would be great for them and great for our club.”

A penalty shoot-out victory over Manchester City on March 10 sent Spurs into the FA Cup semi-finals.

Vilahamn added: “I didn’t really realise it when we won the quarter-final that it is huge in this country to be the semi-finals for the first time and I am proud of it.

“The girls this year have been great. We are taking some big steps and also making sure we put Tottenham on the map for women’s football to make sure we are up there competing. I love that.

“When the board told us we could play the game there (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium), I was so happy because we want to be there and they want us to play more and more games there.

“It’s the perfect match this game because it’s a big game and we are feeling that we can perform even better in that stadium.”

A trip to Wembley is within touching distance for Tottenham and Jess Naz, but the forward knows better than most not to take anything for granted.

Spurs host Women’s Super League rivals Leicester at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday in the Women’s FA Cup semi-final and the winner will play at the national stadium for the first time on May 12.

Tottenham won last month’s league meeting between the sides, but the long-serving Naz is determined to ensure the squad’s unwavering belief does not turn into complacency.

“The excitement was there when we got through, but we’ve got to hone down and make sure we turn up on the day,” London-born Naz told the PA news agency.

“It’s one more step to the final. Playing at the stadium will be great. In front of the fans, it will give us another source of energy to go out there, play our football and hopefully win.

“We have got the quality to win a trophy this season. The FA Cup would be a great way to start and then we’ll grow in the league.”

It has been a dramatic cup journey for Spurs, which mirrors the career of Naz given she recently made her 97th appearance for the club but has also fought back from a serious knee injury in 2019.

Tottenham were two down to Sheffield United in round four before scoring a stoppage-time winner. Charlton, another Championship opponent, were narrowly negotiated next before they faced title-chasing Manchester City for a fourth time this season.

After three previous losses by a 10-0 aggregate score, the odds were stacked against Spurs, but captain Bethany England hit a stoppage-time leveller before Becky Spencer’s penalty shootout heroics secured a semi-final berth.

It means Tottenham are one win away from playing at Wembley, something that has always been a dream for Naz – although one that has felt far away at times.

Born into a football-mad family, some of the earliest memories Naz has of the sport are being forced to watch her brothers play from the touchline after she was denied the chance to join in with their team.

Everything changed aged eight when she caught the eye of Tottenham scouts before she spent her teenage years in Arsenal’s academy.

The decision to return to Spurs paid off when she scored the goal to fire them into the WSL in 2019, but disaster struck when she ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament and missed the whole of the 2019-20 campaign.

“At the time, I didn’t even know what ACL or MCLs were until I did it,” Naz said.

“I had just come back from the Under-19 Euros so was on a high. It was pre-season, we had just got promoted and it was a dream come true but then it came crashing down.

“It was a long, long recovery but the belief I had – and with the staff helping – got me through.

“There has been ups and downs along the way still with injuries, but I think this season I’ve been in a really good place.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Jess Naz (@jessicanaz17)


“I feel confident, which is the best thing for me because when I feel confident I play my best.”

 

Naz has eight goal involvements from 25 appearances this season, form which puts her in contention for an England call-up.

She added: “Going through the age groups from under-15s all the way through to under-23s, it would be a great honour to represent England.

“I’ll just keep pushing and hopefully it comes.

“When you are younger, going to FA Cup games or watching England play, it is definitely a dream place to play. It would be great to play there one day.”

Holders Chelsea have been drawn to play at Manchester United in the Women’s FA Cup semi-finals and Tottenham will face Leicester at home.

Emma Hayes’ side take on United in a repeat of last season’s final, which the Blues won 1-0 to lift the trophy for a third consecutive year.

Spurs, who beat Manchester City on penalties in Sunday’s quarter-final, and Leicester, 2-0 winners at Liverpool in their last-eight clash on Saturday, have both reached the last four for the first time.

The semi-finals will take place over the weekend April 13-14, with the final to be held at Wembley on May 12.

This season’s semi-final winners will each receive £160,000, with the losers collecting £40,000.

Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw has been named Barclays Women’s Super League Player of the Month for December.
 

The accolade represents the first time the Jamaican has claimed the prize this season and comes after she was named Joie Player of the Month across the same period.

By netting a hat-trick in Manchester City's superb 4-1 win over Everton at the end of 2023, the clinical striker maintained her position as the division’s leading scorer so far this term with nine goals in as many matches.

Shaw's treble followed a strong display in City's 2-1 win over Aston Villa where Gareth Taylor's side came from a goal down to collect three points at the Joie Stadium.

But it was against the Toffees where the towering striker was at her scintillating best when she extinguished the disappointment of missing an early penalty to break the deadlock with a sublime chip past the hosts’ goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan.

The 26-year-old then doubled her and City’s tally at Walton Hall Park with a driven shot into the bottom corner, before Jill Roord extended the visitors’ lead further.

Following the interval, she collected the match ball when heading home in the 65th minute – which also signalled a perfect hat-trick.

“I am happy to win the award for the first time this year. December was a great month for us as a team and I am grateful to everyone who voted," Shaw said in an interview on the club's website.

“We’re getting into a really important part of the season now, so winning both our games in December has given us a big boost. Hopefully we can continue our strong form until the end of the season so we can make our fans happy," she added.

The Jamaican fended off tough competition from City teammate Lauren Hemp, Liverpool’s Taylor Hinds, Leicester’s Lena Petermann, Manchester United’s Ella Toone and Spurs’ Barbora Votikova.

Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw continues to enjoy an outstanding individual campaign for Manchester City, and, as such, will end the year atop the Barclays Women’s Super League (WSL) scorers list.

The towering Jamaican striker has so far tallied 21 goals in a mere 10 games played so far in the 2023/24 season, and her feat has positioned Manchester City in second on 22 points, three behind leaders Chelsea.

Shaw’s rich vein of form puts her ahead of Aston Villa’s Rachel Daly (18), Bethany England (12) of Tottenham Hotspur, and Brighton Hove and Albion’s Elisabeth Terland (12) in the race for the Golden Boot, heading into the New Year.

The colourful exploits of the 26-year-old Reggae Girl should come as no surprise, as she merely picked up where she left off last season when she broke new ground by notching 31 goals in all competitions, a record across a single campaign for City’s women’s team.

During that season, Shaw was named Women’s Player of the Season in a fan vote, while she was also shortlisted for the Barclays Women’s Super League’s equivalent award.

Shaw finished the 2022/23 season with an astonishing 31 goals in all competitions, surpassing Nikita Parris’ previous highest total of 25 for a Women’s player across a single season. She achieved that tally in just 30 matches, meaning she found the net at a rate greater than once per game. 

When you add nine assists onto that total, her overall goal involvements for that campaign stand at an incredible 40. 

Shaw scored 20 of those goals in the WSL, two in as many UEFA Women’s Champions League matches, two in two Continental Cup fixtures, and an astonishing seven in three FA Cup appearances. 

And by all indications, there will be much more records and scoring feats to come for both Shaw and Manchester City, as her impressive journey will continue at the club until at least 2026.

Page 1 of 2
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.