KHADIJA SHAW hopes her rise to the top of the game will inspire young players in the Caribbean to chase their football dreams.
The Jamaica star – who turns 25 in January – has been reflecting on her journey in the sport including her high-profile summer switch to Manchester City.
The striker grabbed headlines after sealing a June transfer to the Academy Stadium on a three-year deal after two seasons with French side Bordeaux.
And the forward, 24, whose team play Brighton in their first game of 2022, is proud to have young footballers in her country looking up to her and Man City's Prem star Raheem Sterling.
Shaw, who goes by the nickname Bunny, told Fifa.com: “I was once in their shoes, so I know what it feels like looking up to someone like, for example, Raheem Sterling. It means a lot to me, and it helps me also.
“Some days when I don’t feel like I can give or go that extra mile, I just think about all the other players back home.
“It helps me get out of bed sometimes in the morning to go out and work hard.”
Shaw’s Man City side experienced a tough run in the first part of this term losing four of their first nine games.
The club, who endured their worst ever start to a WSL season, have been battling with injury issues with 10 players out of action back in September.
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And Shaw contended with a foot problem that saw her miss City’s wins against Durham in the Conti Cup and Leicester in the league in November.
However, an upturn in form has seen the team win their last two top tier games before Covid cases led to their final match of the year against Reading being postponed.
Before then Shaw has enjoyed some decent performances on the pitch, notching up two goals and one assist in seven WSL appearances.
And the Jamaica forward, who netted 22 times in 20 games for Bordeaux last term, relishes testing her skills in a squad that includes 20 senior internationals.
The City ace added: “For me to be here at Manchester City, that alone speaks for itself. I’m enjoying it and I’m just going to continue to improve.
“I’m adjusting to new coaching, new playing, the club, the players.
"One of the biggest things for me is to be patient with myself, trust my instincts and what I’m good at and just continue to focus on that.
“In terms of the team, it’s an incredible group of players that push you day-in and day-out, so I definitely think I’m getting tested throughout training.”
Shaw and her Jamaica team made history when they became the first-ever Caribbean country to win a place in a Women’s World Cup tournament.
And their squad, currently ranked the 51st best side in the world, was the youngest to compete in the tournament in France in 2019.
While three defeats saw the Reggae Girlz crash out in the group stage that year, Shaw is confident of the team improving as they bid to qualify for the 2023 contest.
And the side, who play Bermuda in February in the first of four qualifiers for the 2022 Concacaf Women’s Championship, have won and drawn two of their last three international friendlies.
Shaw said: “After the World Cup we sat down and spoke with the (Jamaica Football) federation and gave our points about what we took from the experience.
“It’s definitely improving, and I know it takes time. As a team, we know that. It’s just a matter of seeing the progress, as patient as we are as well.
“We’re all young. With the experience and having camps and the building of the chemistry within the team, we can definitely continue to improve.”
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