Cuthbert making her mark as Chelsea's midfield lynchpin
Erin Cuthbert has been a crucial cog in Chelsea's midfield engine room for many years now.
The 25-year-old has been a consistent presence in Emma Hayes' trophy-winning teams since joining the club from Glasgow City in December 2016.
She has regularly contributed with important goals too, including one in last weekend's 3-0 league win over Everton.
As attention turns to an FA Cup clash with Crystal Palace, we shine the spotlight on the Blues ace.
Doing the dirty work
While team-mates Lauren James and Sam Kerr often make the headlines, Cuthbert does her midfield job brilliantly and with minimal fuss.
The Scotland international is an excellent ball winner, ranking joint-fourth in the Women's Super League this season for tackles won (23).
Her ability to regain possession allows Chelsea's more creative players to thrive further up the pitch.
Of course, Cuthbert occasionally pops up with a goal, netting six across all competitions in each of the last three seasons and boasting a trio of league strikes so far this term.
In 2018-19, Cuthbert found the back of the net a remarkable 13 times but she has since taken on a more defensive role for the team.
Versatile and capable of impacting games in a variety of ways, it is no surprise Chelsea's No22 has become such a key player.
Leading by example
Cuthbert has developed significantly over the last few years and she puts much of her progress down to the relationship with serial winner Hayes.
She said: "Emma and I have an interesting relationship. She's super demanding of me, but that's how I respond best.
"I like being challenged. I don't mind having tough conversations or her calling me out.
"Equally, Emma's the first one to praise me, and I do appreciate that, because she is really tough on me at times.
"She expects a lot from me, but I think the only reason she does is because she knows I'm capable of it."
Hayes recently suggested Cuthbert, now among Chelsea's most experienced players, could become one of the team's leaders.
The Blues boss said: "She [Cuthbert] leads by example.
"For someone like Erin, she's capable of the next step. She's ready to be able to take responsibility and produce the performances."
Eyes on the prize
Cuthbert has been at Chelsea long enough to boast several individual and team accolades.
She has won five WSL titles, four Women's FA Cups and one Conti Cup, as well as being named the club's Player of the Year in 2019.
The only trophy missing from her cabinet is the Champions League — and it would be fitting if Chelsea were to win the competition in Hayes' final season before taking the US manager role.
But the immediate priority is the FA Cup, a tournament that holds good memories for Cuthbert after scoring a long-range goal in the 2022 final win over Manchester City.
She will be eager to help Chelsea reach Wembley again and win yet more silverware, with everything still to play for in 2024.