Arsenal forward Beth Mead was pipped to the Ballon D’Or by a single point behind Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas in the 2021-22 voting.
Mead, who was voted Arsenal’s player of the season by readers of Arsenal.com and the official Arsenal Women’s Supporters Club, went on to win the Golden Boot and the Player of the Tournament award as she formed part of the England team that won the European Championships during the summer.
Ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League group stage tie at Lyon, Jonas Eidevall was asked about her success over the last year or so and he spoke in glowing terms of the Gunners’ number nine.
“Looking back she had a very strong season at club and international level and she has started this season in a very good way,” Eidevall said. “That shows that this isn’t form, it’s consistency, her ability to perform at this level all the time, which is so important.
“As a coach, sometimes you look for different things compared to a journalist, or a spectator. I know her goals and assists are absolutely world class. But I see other things in her as a person and a player that are so valuable for a coach.
“When you see her reaction when we are losing the ball or there is a second ball situation, she is the fastest player I have ever had the privilege to coach to react to those situations.
“You see it at least five times in the Reading game when the ball bounces down next to a Reading player and Beth Mead comes in and steals the ball. Instantly we go from a situation where we might have to defend and straight away, we are on the attack. That is so valuable for the game we want to play as a team.”
2nd place in the #BallonDor
An incredible achievement.
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) October 17, 2022
Eidevall was also quick to play up the importance of her personality, which he says has been unfazed by a year of success for the 27-year-old.
“The other part is as a person and the energy she provides. It is one thing when you have success and you get carried away, she still provides the same energy and ambition as she did when I arrived in July 2021.
“All the success she has had in that period has not changed her. She is still as hard-working, as humble, as great a person to have in the squad and that is a characteristic that adds a lot of value too.”
Arsenal play away at Lyon on Wednesday evening at 8pm UK time in the opening game of the Champions League group stage. The game will be streamed live on DAZN’s YouTube channel free of charge and in geoblocked, no subscription is required.