The Lionesses made history last night after winning the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 – and a former East Lancashire school pupil was named player of the match.

Former Haslingden High School pupil, Keira Walsh, received the official Player of the Match award, presented by Visa, for her display in the final.

Keira, who played her junior football at Pearson Juniors before being signed by Blackburn Rovers, helped her team secure an extra-time 2-1 victory against Germany.

It's the first major tournament title for the country since 1966 World Cup, when the men's side again beat Germany in extra-time at Wembley.

UEFA's Technical Observers decide who is honoured, and said of the winner: "Walsh balanced the team throughout the game.



“She was the continuous connection between the striker and the defenders.

“She hardly loses the ball and after winning it she finds the space to purposefully set up the possessional play forwards."

Thousands of fans have since praised Keira for her performance.

One person said: “About time Keira got the recognition she so richly deserved.

“Keira, I’m in awe with regard to how well you played. You were the lynchpin around which the Lionesses could play so well.”

Another said: "Thought she was a different level compared to anything on the pitch. ‘Football Intelligence’ personified.

“Great movement, range of passing, decision making. So impressed.”

The Technical Observers for Women's EURO 2022 were Gemma Grainger, David James, Margret Kratz, Jayne Ludlow, Jarmo Matikainen, Joe Montemurro, Vera Pauw, Hope Powell and Anne Noé.

The school’s P.E teacher and coordinator of girls’ football, Nikki Berko, taught Keira and had her on the team since she was in Year 7.

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph, Nikki said she was an “outstanding all round sportswoman” from the moment she arrived at the school.

She said: “Her footballing ability was unrivalled. She is the best young female footballer I have ever seen and I used to say to her mum she would 100 per cent make it as a professional.

“We are immensely proud of her and the Lionesses and she serves as a role model for all young people to look up to.

“She rightly takes pride of place as our most famous ‘Wall of Famer’ and we now need an updated picture from the Euros.

“She’s an absolute inspiration to all young girls up and down the country, but someone our girls can absolutely relate to.

“Hopefully this is just the start for the women’s game and it now gets the support it’s always deserved!

“Well done, Keira - we will continue to follow your career. Now for the World Cup?”

Keira, along with fellow players Georgia Stanway and Ella Toone, spent the beginnings of their careers at Blackburn Rovers before being snapped up by the Manchester clubs.

Kiera Walsh, a midfielder, completed her youth training at Blackburn Rovers and was picked up by Manchester City in 2014, where the 25-year-old has remained since.

Ella Toone, 22, a forward who scored the opening goal on Sunday, joined Rovers from Manchester United as a teenager to play senior football.

Lancashire Telegraph: Ella Toone scoring at Wembley. Pic: PAElla Toone scoring at Wembley. Pic: PA

She made 20 appearances with the club and scored 13 goals, with her helping to take the team to the final in the 2016-17 season of the FA Women's Premier League.

Toone later returned to the Red Devils after they finally formed a senior women's side in 2018, but continued to play with Blackburn in the National League on dual registration terms.

Cumbrian Georgia Stanway, an attacking midfielder who scored the winner in the quarter-final, started her career at Blackburn Rovers after being spotted as a junior.

She played through the youth system and eventually the senior squad playing in the FA Women’s Premier League, before Manchester City lured her out of East Lancashire.

Stanway, 23, has 40 caps for England, and next season will be playing at Bayern Munich.