Stepping out of the shadows and into the limelight can make or break a player but Alex Scott believes Manchester City striker Nikita Parris is on her way to becoming England’s star performer.
City lost main striker Toni Duggan to Barcelona last summer and resisted the temptation to make a big signing in the transfer window – instead placing their faith in Parris, who played a bit-part role for England at Euro 2017.
The 23-year-old has risen to the challenge, scoring eight goals in 15 games already and played her part in their SSE Women’s FA Cup fifth round win against Birmingham on Sunday.
City’s quest for a quadruple is gathering momentum. They are top of the FA Women’s Super League by two points, face Linkoping in the Champions League quarter-finals next month and are already in the FA Women’s Continental Tyres Cup final.
On Monday they drew Sunderland in the FA Cup quarter-finals and former England defender Scott, who helped draw the balls live on BBC Radio 1Xtra, believes Parris has what it takes to take centre stage.
“They have looked sharp again all season, they’re top of the table for a reason and have looked superb in the Cup,” she said.
“They also have players like Nikita Parris who are really on form at the moment. You have to praise manager Nic Cushing, he could easily have gone out and replaced Toni with another striker.
“But he saw the quality in Nikita and thought she just needed game time. And she has rewarded her manager by scoring lots of goals and putting in some superb performances.
“I have been impressed with Man City, I think they just go about their business in a particular way. They have lost players and only bought one or two in so their squad is not as big as other teams.
“They still get the job done and I think you have to respect that and I like that about then. They don’t boast about what they have done in the past or the present – they just do what they need to.”
The pick of the last eight ties sees Liverpool host Chelsea, while elsewhere Everton play Durham and Arsenal face Charlton.
Sunderland won’t be a push over for City with the Lady Black Cats currently sitting in a respectable fifth place in the Women’s Super League table.
In Lucy Staniforth and Bridget Galloway, they carry a genuine goalscoring threat and Scott expects them to make life tough for City and put their quadruple hopes in jeopardy.
“Sunderland can have a free swing and go out and play without any pressure on their shoulders. They are safe in the league so this is a one-off game,” she added.
“But they will not be thinking about that yet. There is no pressure on them at all so it will be an interesting one and certainly something to keep an eye on.”
Tickets are now on sale for the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final on Saturday 5th May at Wembley Stadium connected by EE. For more information about tickets and SSE’s involvement in women’s football visit sponsorship.sse.com
Image courtesy of FATV via YouTube, with thanks.