The Women’s Game chief editor Cheryl Downes believes claiming the first ever women’s Ballon d’Or will be a tough ask for Matildas superstar Sam Kerr.
On Tuesday, Kerr became one of the 14 nominees put forward for the historic first ever women’s Ballon d’Or, voted on by France Football journalists.
The award has been running for some 60 years but up until this year, had been exclusively a male award.
Alongside Perth Glory marquee woman Kerr, the following names were shortlisted for the award: Lucy Bronze, Pernille Harder, Ada Hergerberg, Amandine Henry, Lindsay Horan, Fran Kirby, Saki Kumagai, Amel Majri, Dzenifer Marozsan, Marta, Lieke Mertens, Megan Rapinoe, Christine Sinclair and Wendie Renard.
Découvrez la liste des 15 nommées pour le Ballon d’Or France Football féminin 2018 https://t.co/IcustZIXUq
— #ballondor (@francefootball) October 8, 2018
Kerr won the NWSL Golden Boot for a second consecutive season in the US with Chicago Red Stars but missed out on shortlisted for FIFA’s The Best Award, won in the end by Brazil legend Marta.
But while the Ballon d’Or is voted on by the press rather than fans, in the case of The Best, Downes warned it would be a challenge for Kerr to best some of her shortlisted rivals due to proximity – or lack thereof – to Europe.
“I think it’s a great list and that makes it really really hard for Sam to be honest,” Downes said on Tuesday’s Daily Football Show.
“It’s going to be a little bit about exposure and we’re talking about a very small market, and you’ve got the French magazine and the experts in that space.
“They’re going to be voting on it themselves and they haven’t seen Sam potentially as much as they’ve seen someone like Fran Kirby or a lot of the European type players.
“I think it’ll be tough but I’m actually pleased to see the good players out there.
“The Best is trying to get better but definitely not there yet and maybe that fan vote is letting it down at the moment.”
The Daily Telegraph reported Kerr turned down moves to European clubs in order to remain with Perth Glory, and in the process became the W-League’s first ever marquee player.
The Ballon d’Or will be awarded on 3 December at a ceremony in Paris.
Kerr is not part of the current Matildas squad, rested for the upcoming international window which includes friendlies against England and two versus Chile.
Alen Stajcic’s side opened that window with a 2-0 loss against France and will be out to return to winning ways against England at Craven Cottage on Wednesday morning AEST.
Ahead of match, Downes zeroed in on the front third as the area for improvement.
“I think for someone like (Princess) Ibini for example, she can really get things happening in that final third and that’s where we traditionally fall down,” she said.
“But to be honest, I don’t think there was enough play in the final third. If you have a look at the statistics, probably our possession of the ball was close to 50% but wouldn’t have been in an attacking area.
“Staj will want to maintain that possession, he’ll probably want to move it up the park a bit as well.”