Ona Batlle has won PFA Vertu Motors WSL Fans’ Player of the Year award for her outstanding campaign for Manchester United across the 2022/23 season.
Batlle topped the fan ballot ahead of some real stiff competition, highlighting just how much impact she has had in the WSL over the course of the season. The Spaniard took 27% of the overall vote, finishing ahead of Frida Maanum and Sam Kerr, closely vying for second and third respectively.
Golden Glove winner Mary Earps, Golden Boot winner Rachel Daly and Manchester City striker Khadija Shaw were also nominated for the annual prize won last year by the aforementioned Kerr.
Batlle was immense at both ends of the pitch in a momentous campaign for Manchester United. Defensively, she formed one fifth of the meanest unit in the WSL, ensuring her team only conceded 12 goals in 22 games and registered a new league record of 14 clean sheets.
The Spaniard got the better of countless wingers in that respect, with her tough tackling, reading of the game, sense of danger, pace and physical fitness all hugely important.
Batlle usually rose to the occasion in the biggest games too, keeping the influential Caitlin Foord quiet during United’s historic 3-2 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in November and marking England star Lauren Hemp out of two Manchester derbies.
But she was more than just an elite defender. Batlle was a major force going forward too, racking up nine assists and often being one of her team’s most persistent creative sparks. No WSL defender got close to matching Batlle’s assist numbers, which were joint second best in the whole league.
A standout attacking performance came against Aston Villa at Old Trafford in December when she both scored and assisted in the 5-0 rout, having created five chances overall and been a progressive driving force with the ball down the right flank.
Batlle has since completed a move to Barcelona, while she was part of the Spain squad that won this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.