Even before signing the world’s best player in Sam Kerr, Chelsea had a wealth of attacking options. Fran Kirby, Erin Cuthbert, Adelina Engman, Ramona Bachmann and Beth England were already causing manager Emma Hayes a constant selection headache.
It may have been expected on Kerr’s arrival that England would have dropped out of the starting eleven to accommodate the Australian star.
Chelsea had been playing a 4-2-3-1 this season and with Kerr and England having similar skill sets there may not have been room for both of them.
However, due to illness within the squad and England’s impressive form in the first half of the season which has seen her score six in nine games, the Blues lined up in a 4-4-2 formation in Sunday’s game against Reading.
Despite Kerr only landing in the country nine days before the fixture the 26-year-old showed obvious chemistry with England.
Most notably, when the Australian captain assisted England's equalising goal with a beautiful first-time back-heel pass which showed why there was so much hype surrounding her arrival to the WSL.
What they said about each other
As reported by The Offside Rule podcast Kerr said despite having limited time with her new teammate they’re already rubbing off on each other:
“It’s nice playing with Beth. I feel like we’ve connected really quickly and she’s a quality player…
“The quality at training is amazing. They’ve been learning from me and I’ve been learning from them, so I feel like we’re going to complement each other well.”
Beth England also spoke to The Offside Rule podcast about her new teammate:
“I really enjoyed the game yesterday [against Reading] playing with Sam I thought we linked up really well as it showed with some good chances created.
“[My job] on the training pitch especially is trying to help her steady her feet and give her some guidance on where she needs to be and when. II think over the chats we’ve had the last few days really helped us put into action what we did yesterday.”
A unique opportunity
England is reaching the peak of her career, her emergence on the international scene is one of very few positives Phil Neville can take from his side’s post-World Cup displays. The 25-year-old has grabbed two goals in five games since making her England debut in August.
She’s had to work hard to get her opportunities domestically as well. After a tricky start to her Chelsea career she joined Liverpool on loan for the 2017-18 season scoring 10 goals in 16 appearances.
Now seems to be her time and Kerr’s arrival represents a great opportunity for her to be tested by and learn from the striker that was named by The Guardian as the best women’s footballer of 2019.