Jamaica star 'Bunny' Shaw wants to make impact at Manchester outfitSunday, June 20, 2021
BY SHERDON COWAN
THOUG H entering a more competitive environment at the Barclay's FA Women's Super League, Jamaica's Khadija “Bunny” Shaw is intent on extending her rich goalscoring form with new club Manchester City.
The 24-year-old striker who scored 24 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions for FC Bordeaux during the 2020/21 campaign, finishing the season as Division 1 Feminine's top scorer, is well aware that she will now be up against some of the world's best strikers and defenders in the cut-throat league.
However, Shaw, who will join Manchester City at the start of July following the conclusion of her current contract with Bordeaux, is relishing the challenge of going in and getting the job done when she arrives in England to sport the number 21 jersey.
Australia's Sam Kerr of Chelsea, who was last season's top striker, as well as Netherland's Vivianne Miedema of Arsenal and England's Fran Kirby, also of Chelsea, are some of those Shaw will have to outscore if she is to repeat her Golden Boot feat in her debut Women's Super League season.
“Every league brings a different challenge and you know there are absolutely great players in the league, so I expect this is another thing that I will have to deal with. But, I take things one step at a time so I want to come in, meet the girls, get training, and then when it's game time, I'll handle it,” Shaw said in a media roundtable hosted by the club via Zoom on Friday.
While she will have a star-studded cast to support her ambitions — England's Lucy Bronze, Chloe Kelly and Jill Scott, along with Scotland's Caroline Weir, among others — Shaw readily admits that the team's success far outweighs any individual achievements she might acquire along the way.
“I am very competitive. My family always told me that I put too much pressure on myself but that's just how I am from when I was very small. Like I said, it is a new challenge and a new environment so it is just to get in and do whatever I can to help the team,” she told the small conference of mostly British journalists.
“Obviously as a striker or an attacking player you want to score goals, but for me it is more about the team. So if that means me not scoring a lot of goals but the team is successful then I am fine with that – but scoring a lot of goals is definitely one of my objectives,” the Spanish Town native declared.
When asked why she chose Manchester City, Shaw pointed out that Jamaican-born England international Raheem Sterling was a huge influence in her decision to ink the three-year deal, as she has always been an ardent admirer of his career.
She revealed that she has never met Sterling but has been tracking his progress since his teenage years at Liverpool FC.
“It started from Raheem Sterling and you know we try to support our fellow Jamaicans as much as possible. So, when he left Liverpool and went to Manchester, that is when I started following Manchester City,” Shaw said of her love affair with the club.
“And then they came up with the women's team and the league and it's something that I've always wanted to be a part of. So, I think it is very exciting. There are a lot of great players on the team and for me, it is just to come in and learn from them as much as I can. So, they can help me and I can help them just the same,” she added.
It is for that reason Sterling's Instagram video welcoming her to the England-based club, ahead of the upcoming 2021/22 season, came as a special surprise for Shaw.
“I just want to welcome you to the Manchester City family. You are coming into a beautiful family. It's a close-knit group, the women's and the men's teams, so I am sure I will see you soon. So, forward and come do the damage over yah so. All the best and hope to see you soon,” said Sterling, a Kingston native, who moved to London at the age of five.
The St Jago High School alumna expressed delight about the welcome video.
“It was pretty cool. It actually came as a surprise to me because he is also Jamaican and I have never met him, but I know he plays for Manchester City and I have always said that he is one of my favourite players. So, coming to Manchester City and having Raheem Sterling welcome me is just an unbelievable feeling,” she beamed.
Like Sterling, the towering Shaw has always been praised for her physical and technical qualities, which she continues to exhibit.
She currently holds the title of Reggae Girlz all-time leading goalscorer with an impressive 42 goals in 30 appearances.
“I want to be tested. And there is so much experience in the team here so I am very excited because I want to be in that competitive environment, and I know I will learn a lot from everybody around me.
“Playing against other players can help me to improve. I was in France and I won the Golden Boot so now [my] transfer to England is just another step in my career. So for me, to now be competing against some of the best strikers in the world is an amazing feeling,” Shaw ended.