England stars Alessia Russo and Keira Walsh have both scooped major prizes at the first ever Women's Football Awards.
Manchester United forward Russo has been named Player of the Year while Walsh, who joined Barcelona for a record fee last summer, picked up the international player award.
Russo and Walsh were both key players during the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 triumph, with Russo netting four goals while Walsh was named in the team of the tournament.
Lauren James was also one of the award winners, with Chelsea forward named Young Player of the Year alongside Liverpool’s Missy Bo Kearns.
Elsewhere, Harry Kane and Declan Rice were both recognised in the Football Ally of the Year category while Arsenal legend and pundit Ian Wright took home the Women’s Football Champion of the Year.
Tottenham’s Rosella Ayane and West Ham’s Viviane Assayi paid tribute to Kane and Rice for their behind-the-scenes support of women's football.
The star-studded event was hosted by Jamie Carragher and Eni Aluko, was the first publicly-voted ceremony to recognise all-levels of the game.
Over 20,000 public votes were cast for the winners and later ratified by an expert judging panel led by Manchester United's Nikita Parris, Sky Sports News anchor Hayley McQueen and Real Madrid midfielder Caroline Weir.
Former Chelsea and England forward Aluko said: ‘Tonight was a highlight of my career. This was a first for women's football and a landmark moment for the game. I am so proud to be part of this event. For the first time women's football has got the recognition it deserved. It is even more special because the public nominated and voted for these awards.
‘To see so many amazing footballers, people, organisations and brands recognised for advancing and improving the game we love was phenomenal and I have to give thanks to our main sponsors, SHEIN, and supporting sponsors Klarna and Visa, for helping put together such a memorable night.
‘From superstar players to the grassroots organisations promoting the game in their own time, we have seen the best of the best being recognised tonight and it has been a dream come true to be part of it alongside Jamie Carragher and the Women's Football Awards team.’
‘So many big names attended this event. It was incredible. Huge credit to all of the winners. We're already planning for the event in 2024.’
Carragher added: ‘Eni and I have been involved in the Women's Football Awards since day one and to feel the atmosphere in the room tonight was fantastic. This was a special event.
‘This was a true celebration of the women's game. I am looking forward to seeing the sport continue to grow at a phenomenal rate and I'll do what I can to help.
‘All of the winners are incredibly deserving.’
In other awards, Girls on the Ball were recognised as Journalist or Broadcaster of the Year while former Everton and Liverpool star Fern Whelan, the first Women's Football EDI Executive for the PFA, won the Off The Pitch Award.
Whelan has been widely praised for her role to enhance opportunities in football for women and girls from marginalised communities.
Manchester Laces were recognised with Grassroots Initiative of the Year for their work in encouraging participation in women's football, while broadcaster and Women's Super League Hall of Fame star Karen Carney was given a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award as the final gong of the night. Her award was presented by Olympic gold medalist Sally Gunnell.
Former England captain Carol Thomas, who captained the Lionesses to the 1984 European final, was presented with a special recognition award.
Thomas is considered a pioneer of the women's game and captained England in seven tournaments, winning two of them, including the Home Internationals of 1976 and the invitational 1985 Mundialito — known as the Little World Cup.Read more 2023-05-25T21:15:11Z dg43tfdfdgfd