Thu | Feb 25, 2021

France is her future - French journalist sees further development for Shaw in Ligue 1

Published:Sunday | January 17, 2021 | 12:06 AMDaniel Wheeler - Staff Reporter
Shaw
Shaw

As the long-term future of national striker Khadija Shaw is still being determined, French journalist Clement Carpentier says that remaining in the country’s top flight would be critical for the Jamaican’s continued evolution.

The 23-year-old Shaw is in the final months of her two-year contract with Bordeaux; a deal she signed ahead of Jamaica’s historic FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign in June 2019.

Her debut season, which ended abruptly because of COVID-19, yielded a return of 10 league goals, which left her tied for fourth in the Division One Feminine goalscoring chart. At the start of the second half of the 2020-21 season, she has already eclipsed last season’s mark and is the league’s current leading goalscorer with 14 goals from 12 appearances. She has also registered two assists.

Carpentier, who writes for French newspaper 20 Minutes, says that despite being on the radar of some of the best teams in the world, Shaw would be better served by remaining in France to continue her progression among the ranks of the women’s game.

“I think she must stay in France to continue her progress, in Bordeaux or in Paris or Lyon, with the best French teams,” Carpentier told The Sunday Gleaner. “[The] division is progressing. It’s a very strong championship today [but] Khadija has to be on a team that plays in the Champions League every year.”

Champions League qualification was in sight for Shaw and Bordeaux when the season ended last year, being one point adrift of the top two automatic places. By virtue of an extra spot being allocated to the league this season, Bordeaux, who are currently in third spot in the league with 23 points, are on course to qualify for the continental competition.

Carpentier has been impressed with Shaw’s progression during her second season and believes that currently, she is among the most elite players in the division.

ACCELERATED IMPROVEMENT

“Khadija Shaw is one of the best players in the championship. Maybe the best,” Carpentier said. [Shaw] dominates technically and especially physically her opponents. She’s just stronger. She [was] already strong last season but this season she is more effective. On every occasion, there is a goal in certain matches.

Her accelerated improvement in her sophomore season, combined with how she started her career in France, led to her being ranked number 49 in British newspaper The Guardian’s list of top 100 women’s footballers in the world for 2020, a 31-place jump from 2019’s ranking of 80. She has already claimed Player of the Month honours for October, after scoring seven goals in four games.

Although Carpentier admits that it will be difficult for Bordeaux to hold on to Shaw beyond next season, earning a Champions League berth this season could be the key to keeping her at the club.

Bordeaux’s return to league play on Friday ended in defeat, losing 1-0 to league leaders Paris Saint Germain (PSG), snapping their five-game winning streak in the process. In the battle between Shaw and PSG’s Marie Katoto, the league’s top goalscorers, it was PSG midfielder Sara Dabritz who made the difference, scoring the only goal of the game four minutes before half-time.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com