06 September 2020 14:43
Vivianne Miedema does not thrive under the spotlight. You only have to watch her play, she says, and you will understand. The Arsenal striker spends long spells off the ball, lurking behind defenders. Watch her goal celebrations, and they are often low-key and understated – even when she scored six times in 90 minutes, as she did against Bristol City last season. On the team bus later, she says, you will not catch her going wild over a win either.
"I'm the type of player and person that likes to be in the background," Miedema shrugs, sat relaxed on a video call from the sofa in her living room. "Like, I'll never be the one standing dancing on a bus celebrating – I'd like to be the one in the back seat, not really doing much." That is not to say she likes to be overlooked though. Last season she led the Women's Super League in goals and assists. The season before, she set a league record with 22 goals when she helped Arsenal to their first title in seven years. Aged 22, she became Holland's most prolific scorer with 60 goals, and played in the 2019 World Cup final with her Dutch team. And yet, the Fifa "Best" Awards did not even shortlist her last year, before crowning the US's Megan Rapinoe. At the time, she made her feelings known, saying, "I don't really care about individual awards to be honest, but I think it's a joke". Miedema repeatedly says in our interview that she does not care about individual awards. What she seems to care about is the ignorance that was the cause of her omission. "Especially in women's football, I think if you've got an opinion and you're big in the media, it helps to be more famous and to probably win things [individual awards]," she says. "But I want to just let my feet speak, that's the most important thing for me. I don't care that much about winning awards, because I know what I need to achieve and give my team. That's what I take most from, not awards being given away by people that might not know the game as well as they should be knowing it."