Catch Me If You Can (by Charlotte Stacey)
Having already been named International Young Player of the Year in 2017, and PFA Women's Young Player of the Year in 2018, Manchester City and England forward Lauren Hemp is fast cementing herself as a rising star on the football field.
Lauren Hemp is nothing if not a grafter. Her unbreakable can do attitude and irrepressible energy has caught the eye of many, including that of England boss Phil Neville. At 19, Hemp has justly earned her first senior international caps, and played a fundamental part in the sell-out spectacular at Wembley Stadium.
Bearing an instinctively attacking mindset, and possessing a deadly speed, Hemp is somewhat of a nuisance for even the tightest defensive line. With a natural agility, as well as some nifty footwork, Hemp is able to dart into positions that cause all sorts of problems for her marker. Her game is magnificently quick. In fact, the speed in which she covers a pitch seems inconceivable at times. It is her pace, alongside her gift to foresee and meet an incoming ball, that causes her to stand out amongst the rest.
No stranger to a shot, Hemp's scoring record for both City and England is growing. But whilst she may not be within top goal scorer territory yet, she is often involved in the build up of others. Hemp's mounting pressure on the wing frequently sees her put in a strong cross or two, and with her quick movement, she is already accomplished in championing a counter. Yet, where she is without fear in attacking, she also demonstrates no fear in defending. Hemp is gritty. With a tenacious standpoint, she takes no issue with insistently retrieving a ball lost in possession. Neither with taking herself back to dispel a threat from the opposition, or to unify with her teammates when needed.
Harbouring an honest outlook that will take her far, Hemp herself recognises that there is still work to do in getting to the top, and in securing her permanency in the national side. Hemp notes that she is "still not the finished article", and whilst this perhaps currently rings true, she is undoubtedly headed in the right direction. Being at one of the biggest female clubs in the country, and regularly playing alongside veterans of the game, will only quicken her journey in reaching her potent full potential.
Hemp is observably a player that takes everything on board. A player who actively uses her experiences to better her play, and one who is always looking to progress forward. Her clear ambition and drive signifies that of a true go-getter. With Manchester City asserting themselves as a dominant force, and with the Lionesses gearing up for a busy couple of years, the future looks nothing but promising for Hemp. Of course, whether she is able to secure a place in the international squad for their upcoming tournament remains to be seen. But reflecting on the season she has had so far, it certainly looks hopeful. However, speculation aside, what is clear, is that for Hemp, there is plenty more to come.
Lauren Hemp - one to watch.
by Charlotte Stacey