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 By PA Sport

Chelsea Ladies striker Fran Kirby wins football writers' award

Fran Kirby has scored 22 goals for Chelsea this season.

Chelsea Ladies and England striker Fran Kirby has won the inaugural Women's Footballer of the Year award from the Football Writers' Association (FWA).

Kirby, a 24-year-old former Reading player, has scored 22 goals for Women's Super League leaders Chelsea in all competitions this season.

The FWA said she secured more than 50 percent of the vote after a shortlist was drawn up, with Euro 2017 Golden Boot winner Jodie Taylor finishing second.

"I was really proud to be nominated in the first place, but to actually win is a real honour," Kirby told the FWA website. "To be the first recipient of this honour and award is so special."

The accolade comes two days after Kirby won the Professional Footballers' Association's Women's Player of the Year award.

Kirby, nicknamed "Mini Messi" by former England Women's manager Mark Sampson during the 2015 World Cup, has established herself as a key figure in new Lionesses boss Phil Neville's team.

She will collect her award at the FWA awards dinner in London on May 10 and wrote on Twitter: "Thank you to all those who had voted for me, and to the @theofficialfwa for introducing a women's award, shows how far women's football has come."

Her England colleagues Lucy Bronze, Izzy Christiansen and Jordan Nobbs were also on the shortlist.

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