Flaherty tips Aussie hero Kerr to shine at home World Cup
Former England international Gilly Flaherty believes Sam Kerr firing Chelsea to the double was just the start.
The Aussie, 29, scored a brace in a 3-0 victory at Reading to help the Blues add a fourth consecutive Women's Super League crown after netting the winner in their FA Cup triumph.
Kerr will now head for a World Cup Down Under looking to inspire the Matildas to glory on home soil.
Speaking exclusively to LiveScore, Flaherty said: "It might not be Sam Kerr's most prolific season but she's had a lot on her shoulders.
"With Fran Kirby getting injured and Beth England going in January, she's played a lot of minutes.
"She looked a bit fatigued towards the end but she's come up with some important goals and that's what you need from your strikers."
And the former Chelsea defender thinks the considerable expectation to deliver in a home World Cup in July should only inspire Kerr to new heights.
Flaherty added: "She'll thrive off it, I think she'll be huge for Australia.
"I watched her when England played Australia recently and she was incredible then. I think she thrives on the big occasions and she loves playing for her country.
"I think she'll show everybody how good she is again this summer."
Rotation the key
Chelsea's victory at the Madejski also saw Emma Hayes' team clinch a third league and FA Cup double in a row.
Flaherty, speaking at the unveiling of a mural of midfielder Guro Reiten to celebrate the Blues' trophy-laden season, credits Hayes for that impressive run.
She said: "Emma's rotated the team really well. She has made sure that everybody is capable of standing up when they need to.
"I think it's about players knowing their jobs and knowing that it's not about one single individual.
"They've needed every single player to dig in and play a part at some stage during this campaign."
Chelsea's two-point margin in the final standings proved that their superiority is not insurmountable, however.
FA Cup finalists Manchester United finished second in the table and Flaherty believes that they are one of a few potential challengers next season.
The ex-Arsenal and West Ham star said: "Manchester United got 56 points, which would have seen them joint-top last season. Chelsea needed the league-record points tally to beat them.
"Arsenal, too, might have been in a different position were it not for all the injuries they had.
"Man City and Aston Villa, too. It's a big summer of recruitment coming up."
There was more to this campaign than the title race and Flaherty took huge pleasure out of seeing her old side Liverpool survive their first season back in the WSL.
She said: "For me, and I'm trying not to be biased, one of the biggest stories of the season was Liverpool never really being in any danger of relegation.
"They'll want to push on next season because seventh is a really solid finish.
"You've obviously got Leicester surviving having looked dead and buried before Willie Kirk came in.
"Villa, too, were another great story. Rachel Daly scoring more goals than anybody else in the division and more than Villa managed as a team last season."