Liverpool midfielder Henderson surpassed the 50-cap mark during the year, playing a critical role in England’s qualification for Euro 2020. He assisted a goal in the 5-1 victory over Montenegro in March, the same game in which he earned his 50th cap. Henderson also came off the bench for the Nations League semifinals loss to the Netherlands, arriving in the 77th minute and playing all of extra time.
It likely didn’t hurt Henderson’s case that he has captained Liverpool during the club’s most successful run in decades. The Reds won the Champions League final last summer and are on track to blitzkrieg their way to the Premier League title as it stands. Raheem Sterling finished second for the international award, while Harry Kane came in third.
Bronze was a critical figure for the Lionesses as they competed at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, reaching the semifinals. The full-back was constantly a dangerous threat up the flank, scoring against Norway in a 3-0 win and eventually earning the Silver Ball award as the tournament’s second-best player, finishing behind Megan Rapinoe of the United States.
Her success made her well-known, something she says has been difficult but also enjoyable. “We were successful [at the SheBelieves Cup] and I scored a couple of goals and I think my football life changed overnight,” Bronze said last summer before the World Cup began. “People knew my name and who I was, and I had a target on my back when I was playing, but it was something I enjoyed and always wanted.”
Since the World Cup, England manager Phil Neville has experimented with Bronze in midfield, likening her to Philipp Lahm who made a similar move under Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich. The award the second of her career, also winning England Women’s Player of the Year back in 2015.