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Women’s Footballer of the Year contender Vivianne Miedema

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BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2020: Vivianne Miedema profile

We are profiling each of the five nominees for the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2020 award. You can vote for your winner on the BBC Sport website until Monday, 2 March at 09:00 GMT. The result will be revealed on Tuesday, 24 March on BBC World Service.

Age: 23 Position: Forward Plays for: Arsenal and Netherlands

Achievements in 2019

  • Won WSL and finished top scorer with Arsenal
  • PFA Players’ Player of the Year
  • Became Netherlands’ all-time record scorer, moving on to 69 goals

Did you know?

  • Made career debut aged 15 for Heerenveen
  • Lives with partner Lisa Evans, an Arsenal team-mate and Scotland international
  • Netherlands legend Robin van Persie was an inspiration

In her own words

Highlight of 2019?

“Probably a couple – winning the league at Brighton with Arsenal. I felt like this was a very special day as the club really needed it and we worked really hard for it. Then going to the World Cup and playing a final that no-one expected, I think is something amazing that you probably only experience once in your life.”

Has life changed for you in the Netherlands?

“Oh massively. I can’t go out on the streets without being recognised, which is one of the steps that we’ve always wanted, that women’s football has always wanted. It’s massive – you can’t compare it to before, like right now I think it’s calmed down a bit because we’ve not had something for a while but especially with the Olympics coming up it’s only going to be bigger again.

“In the Netherlands we’re probably right now more popular than the men’s team are. Girls are coming to our games but little boys are as well, and instead of wearing a Virgil van Dijk shirt they are wearing Miedema shirts as well.”

Was football big in your family?

“Yeah. It’s just a football family – my dad always used to play, my granddad always used to play. My brother right now is still playing professional football. When I come home now my mum is still always talking about football so she’s probably the biggest fan. My mum was really getting annoyed because when I was two or three I started kicking against everything in the house and she was just, like, yeah, get her a ball so she can just play outside.”

You don’t do big celebrations after scoring…

“I’m not really a goal celebration type of person. Obviously sometimes for a game I make a deal either with my brother or one of the team-mates like, ‘oh we’re going to do this today’. But I’m probably just running to the player that passed me the ball; I think it just shows respect to the other team.

“We’ve got girls on the team that do something really weird or stupid or funny and I do appreciate that as well. If I look at the girls on the national team doing a summersault or a double jump, it looks really cool – but if I did that I’d probably end up with a broken back, so I just know what my qualities are and it’s definitely not celebrating a goal.”

Breakthrough career moment?

“Playing my first national team game at home and scoring a goal.”

A time you were star struck?

“Never – that’s just not me. Just too down to earth probably.”

Career ambitions?

“It is a big year again – the Olympic games are coming up. As a young girl you always dream of going to the Olympic Games. The year after, the Euros are coming up so it keeps rolling and it’s only good for us because you’re going to be in the picture the whole time.”

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