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Nikita Parris going to France

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Nikita Parris has received acclaim at club and national levels, but the World Cup next summer could bring her even wider glory as the Lionesses play in France

WHEN THE World Cup kicks off in France next summer, England star Nikita Parris is likely to shine like none other.

Manchester City forward Parris recently became the Women’s Super League’s (WSL) all-time leading goalscorer.

Liverpool-born Parris joined the Blues in January 2016, having enjoyed a successful loan spell from hometown club Everton.

Speedy and tricky with passion in abundance, Parris has played a key role as Nick Cushing's side clinched a sensational sweep of domestic trophies: the Super League title, Continental Tyres Cup and FA Cup, in addition to consecutive Champions League semi-finals.

Admired for her dedication, the 24-year-old is a fan favourite and wrote her name into the history books as the club's all-time top goalscorer last season with 38 goals across 97 appearances.

She ended the 2017/18 campaign as top scorer with 18, finishing second in the WSL 1’s scoring charts in the process.

Following a whirlwind 18 months, which also heralded her senior England debut, she penned a new deal at the club in November 2017. Her first appearance for the Lionesses arrived in June 2016, in which she claimed an assist, and she would go on to score twice in her second display days later.

In May this year, she earned a nomination for the England Women's Player of the Year award. And now a global audience awaits to see is Parris can deliver in France.

But like so many sports stars, Parris is keen to give back to the next generations – setting up the NP17 Football Academy, offering sports qualifications to students back in her native city.

She told The Telegraph her thinking: “I knew from a young age what I wanted to do, but that’s not the case for everyone. Some go through different paths to reach their destination.

“My academy is all about ensuring they see the opportunities – aged seven, 15, 20. It doesn’t really matter as long as they realise what they’re capable of.

“I think I had a lot of friends that didn’t decide to do the right thing early. You’re going to have that in inner-city areas – but through me, they realised there’s a way forward.”

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