FORMER Reading FC Women striker and current Chelsea star Fran Kirby has been named the Professional Footballers’ Association Women’s Player of the Year.

The 24-year-old from Whitley has banged in 22 goals in all competitions for the Blues this season.

Kirby, who attended the John Madejski Academy, was one of five Chelsea players to be nominated alongside Millie Bright, Ji So-yun, Maren Mjelde and Ramona Bachmann, with Manchester City's Jill Scott completing the list.

England international Kirby collected her award at London’s Grosvenor House last night when Liverpool’s Mo Salah was named the male player of the year.

"It's pretty special for me," said Kirby afterwards. "It's very humbling because it's voted for by the people I play against week in, week out, so I'm absolutely delighted to win.

"A massive thank you to everyone who has voted for me and to my team-mates who helped me get here."

Reading Chronicle: England call up: Fran Kirby. Pic: Nigel Hoyle.

Whitley's Fran Kirby in action during her Reading FC Women playing days.

Kirby scored an incredible 67 goals in 42 league games for the Royals leading to a big move to Chelsea in 2015.

Her reputation continues to go from strength to strength and she now has 10 England goals in 30 appearances for the Lionesses.

She added: "In every game that I play in, I try to do something that I'll remember after the game.

"It's been such a whirlwind of a season and, having come off an injury last season, the highlight has been being able to play week in, week out without getting any injuries.”

Kirby collected her award just hours after playing for Chelsea in a 3-1 defeat to Wolfsburg in the Champions League semi-final first leg.

However, there was another accolade to come for Kirby after she was named the first winner of the Footballer Writers’ Association’s Women’s Footballer of the Year award earlier today.

Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Izzy Christiansen (Manchester City) and Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal) made up the rest of the short-list.

Kirby said: “I was really proud to be nominated in the first place but to actually win is a real honour. To be the first recipient of this honour and award is so special.”

Patrick Barclay, FWA chairman, said: "Congratulations to Fran Kirby on being such a worthy winner of this historic vote by an expert panel of FWA members."

Kirby will be presented with her award, alongside the Footballer of the Year, at the FWA's annual awards dinner on May 10 at London's Landmark Hotel.