Despite her side winning their first Shield in the women's club's history, Kerr's off-game became the focus of much of the media speculation - an unwanted welcome to the cutthroat world of English football.

Breaking the world female transfer record upon her arrival, Kerr was always going to face a ridiculous amount of pressure.


Matildas' Kerr brave despite relentless criticism

Sam Kerr copped a barrage from the English media after a few wayward attempts in Chelsea's Community Shield win against Manchester City.

She had become the poster girl for women's football and anything less than superstardom was going to attract the ire of sceptical English fans and media. As Kerr said herself, "it's not easy being an Australian abroad."

Former Chelsea midfielder, Karen Carney told the BBC her performance had "been a nightmare".

"You can see they frustrate Emma Hayes," Carney added. "Where Chelsea want to go, she has to bury those chances. Sometimes it's just one of those days and you just think: 'Get me off the pitch now.'"

"It was definitely an off day," former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis reiterated. "I don't expect another day as painfully bad for her.

"It just wasn't happening for her. She tried to have a deft touch and it bounced off her; she had a header and it didn't come off. It's one of those days where you just feel like: 'Unbelievable. Can I even play football any more?'"

Leaving the barrage on social media aside, given Chelsea's continued spending spree, just breaking their own record on another striker, Pernille Harder, the pressure on Kerr's role is already monumental.

Chelsea now have four world class forwards: Kerr, Harder, Bethany England and Frank Kirby, with Chelsea boss Emma Hayes usually deploying a 4-4-2, but now likely experimenting with a new formation altogether.

"If you've got a striker who's not creating chances, that's a concern," Hayes said. "Sam has been outstanding in pre-season and I expect that she'll be on the training pitch tomorrow, working at her finishing.

"I'm not disappointed in anything with her game today."

But for her part, Kerr is showing every ounce of gusto and determination that has led the Matildas captain this far in her career.

Never one to shy away from the spotlight, Kerr has been a little quieter in recent weeks - even before the Community Shield - but talking to Chelsea, she's remaining entirely positive. 

"It's good to have a full pre-season with the team. I feel like I've settled in these last five weeks more than I did last season with everything that was going around us. I feel really good being back with the team," she said.

"I haven't actually done a pre-season for a long, long time. I can't remember the last one I've done as I used to go from the US straight to Australia to play, but it's been really good.

"The quality has been great, the new signings have added a lot to our team. There's a lot of fight to just get into the starting X,I so I think that always drives the team."


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