Chelsea manager Emma Hayes reckons it won’t be long before her star turn Ji So-Yun adds the World Player of the Year crown to her growing collection of personal awards.
The South Korea international enjoyed a fine debut season in England after joining Chelsea from Japanese side Kobe INAC Leonessa last year.
Having been named FA WSL 1 Players’ Player of the Year at the FA Women’s Awards Last November, after helping Chelsea to second place in the top league, she is now the PFA Women’s Players' Player of the Year 2015.
And, according to her coach, the talented midfielder - nicknamed the ‘Korean Messi’ by fans in her homeland - has the potential to reach the pinnacle of women's football.
"She has only just scratched the surface," says Hayes. “She is at the development age and I think she has to get a little tougher in one v one battles and improve the speed of her decision-making.
"But in time I think she'll do all of that and as I’ve said before, if she keeps working at it I wouldn’t be surprised if one day she is World Player of the Year."
Ji was the joint-highest assist maker in FA WSL 1 last season but Hayes insists the best is yet to come from a talented player who was her country’s youngest ever goalscorer at 15, and has gone on to win more than 60 caps for South Korea.
"She is a fantastic young playmaker who has the ability to control a game and she has now adjusted a little more to the physical style of play in England.
"Other players are more aware of her but like all good players she finds a way to solve problems on the pitch. I think Ji will kick on and the world stage will see what a player she is come next summer at the World Cup."
At the FA awards, Ji So-Yun finished ahead of Karen Carney (Birmingham City) and Jess Clarke (Notts County) having scored nine goals in 19 appearances in her debut season for the Blues.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty images