Some players are slow burners.
They progress upwards on a clear upwards trajectory, on an incline propelled by consistency and great performances. They stay on the scene, dedicate themselves and through sheer hard work – they make it.
Others catapult themselves into the reckoning. From nowhere, their talent is thrust into the spotlight and they oust those ahead of them.
Beth Mead exploded onto the scene and since then, she has constantly reminded everyone of what she is capable of.
What were the incendiaries that helped her break into the big time?
Mead started out as a youth with Middlesbrough but moved to Sunderland to progress her pro career. In 2017, she had earned a move to the big time with Arsenal. In three years, she has amassed 55 appearances and scored 19 goals. In fact, she has averaged a goal or assist every three games. Not bad from a wide position.
That’s the kicker though. She arrived as a striker and that is clear to see in her current skillset. Her shot is a missile and she invariably makes the keeper work from any position she chooses to let loose.
But the form of goal machine Vivianne Miedema led to a positional change. Mead was moulded into a winger, and her pace and close control are perfect partners to run at full-backs.
Mead has been a revelation in the position, and she has forged an even better career out wide. Her combination with Miedema was the most potent in 2018/19, making 9 goals.
Mead is capable of the spectacular, her goal in the 4-0 win over Brighton which cemented our WSL title in 2019 was voted the Goal of the Season, a wonderful effort that ‘top corner’ doesn’t even begin to cover.
She even created her very own type of shot – the ‘Crot.’ This innovative method sprouted from two fabulous goals on very different stages. The first was a goal that looped over the Brazilian goalkeeper as Mead fizzed in a shot from an acute angle. The second was just days later, a shot taken from a position that would have been easier to cross from. This was done for Arsenal against Liverpool.
Thus, the Crot was born.
Anyone who watches Mead regularly will have no doubt that Beth meant these efforts. Mead is much more than breathtaking goals though. Mead works tirelessly out wide, she is fantastic with her link up play and she can skin her marker with either pace or footwork.
Mead is one of the reasons why Arsenal are contenders season after season. For England and for Arsenal – Mead is a winger you simply can’t ignore.