Aston Villa’s Rachel Daly is a versatile member of Sarina Wiegman’s England squad, known for her charismatic personality. She enters the World Cup in outstanding form, having scored 30 goals in 30 games for her club this season, earning her the Women’s Super League’s Golden Boot award.
Daly, 31, hails from Harrogate and began her footballing journey with Killinghall Nomads. She was scouted by Leeds United and went on to make her league debut for Lincoln City Ladies, scoring four goals in 24 games between 2011 and 2012.
However, her breakthrough came during her time in New York, where she played for St John’s University Red Storm in Queens. Despite only playing for two out of the three years she was enrolled at the institution from 2013 to 2015, she set a record by scoring 50 goals, establishing herself as a notable player.
After her time in New York, Daly relocated to California and played for various clubs, including the Los Angeles Strikers, the Los Angeles Blues, and SoCal FC. It was at Houston Dash in Texas where she found a home, making 118 appearances and scoring 42 goals over a span of seven years.
During the disrupted 2020/21 season due to Covid, Daly had a brief loan spell at West Ham, which eventually led to her permanent return to the UK when she signed for Aston Villa in the summer of 2022.
Phil Neville was the first to introduce her to the international stage in 2016. Since then, she has earned 69 caps and scored 13 goals for England. Daly played a crucial role as a left-back in Wiegman’s successful Euro 2022 team and recently showcased her versatility by playing as a forward in the Arnold Clark Cup in February. In the second game against Italy, she scored two headed goals, helping England secure a 2-1 victory.
In the upcoming World Cup, Daly may continue to play as a forward, potentially replacing Alessia Russo. In this scenario, Alex Greenwood could be expected to take her place as the left-back. However, there is a possibility that Greenwood may be needed as a center-back due to Leah Williamson’s absence and Millie Bright returning from injury.