It's Nikita Parris' time
Background image: Eric Salard, CC BY-SA 2.0
It's common knowledge that Sergio Aguero has been firing Manchester City to success in the Premier League and English football as a whole. What is less known though is that Nikita Parris has been doing a similar job for the female Citizens in the last few years.
Since announcing herself on the big stage by scoring 11 goals in 19 games for Everton in the English Women's Super League in 2014, she has not looked back. That performance opened the door for a move to Manchester City in 2015. In four years with City, she's netted 62 goals in 127 appearances. The 25-year-old consistently demonstrates she is a top talent.
As you'd expect, the most successful team on the continent came calling. How could someone named Parris turn down a move to France? She signed for Olympique Lyonnais in May and will be playing her club football in France from next season.
Lyon did on the women's side what Real Madrid couldn't this season. They won their fourth consecutive Champions League. It was their sixth overall, a record for the women. Chairman Jean-Michel Aulas intends for the club to remain a dominant force in women football both domestically and on the continent for many years. Top class players abound in the team. That includes the inaugural Ballon d'Or award winner in the women's game, Ada Hegerberg.
The Norwegian makes and breaks records in the same dominant fashion as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. She wrote her name in the record books last month with a stunning hat-trick in the Champions League final against Barcelona.
Unfortunately, we won't see her at the World Cup as she has opted not to play for her country. Norway showed no sign of missing her in the first match, trouncing Nigeria 3-0. Regardless, her presence in the team would have improved the country's chances of lifting the trophy in the end. The player herself would have also had the opportunity to add to her accolades.
Whatever the case, Parris won't mind. Norway's loss could be England's gain in France.
At club level, it's a different ball game. Every player desires to play with the best and win trophies. Without Parris, Lyon is already a strong team. It's been the best on the continent for several years now. Yet, adding the Englishwoman makes the team even stronger. For a player who won the Football Writers' Association Women's Player of the Year award in 2018/19, moving to Lyon is like Eden Hazard joining Real Madrid five years ago to team up with Ronaldo. That's what Lyon's opponents face with Parris and Hegerberg on the pitch together.
Having helped Man City ladies to a league title, two FA Cups and two Continental Cups in her time there, the forward is ready to soar higher. At Lyon, she will find a place ready-made for success that will make whatever she achieved at City look like child's play.
The national team will benefit when she realises her full potential. Already a key member in the squad, her recent contributions are just appetisers. She rang the bell for the main course by scoring England's opening goal in this World Cup.
Manager Phil Neville can count on her to help him lead the Lionesses to greater success. On a personal level, it'll be a chance to achieve even more for the former Everton lady. It's Nikita Parris' time to shine.