As 2019 comes to a close, it seems right to select an FA WSL best XI spawning the decade with the league in it’s ninth season.

Because there are so many quality candidates, I set a high selection bar so players had to have won the league at least twice to be considered.

There are a good number of players who have won it three or four times, so they definitely deserve to be in the team of the decade.

There is no doubt that the team of the decade would have been different if we considered the players’ skills only, but the longlist would have had 50+ names on it.

It was easier and logical to add an objective criteria such as a minimum league title wins.

Now, for my obvious bias – this team is full of ex-Arsenal players, but it is important to note that only four teams have won the competition overall: Arsenal (3) , Chelsea (2), Liverpool (2) and Man City (1).

Here is my FA WSL Team of the Decade:

Goalkeeper: Emma Byrne (Arsenal)

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - JUNE 01: Emma Byrne and Niamh Fahey of Arsenal Ladies with the trophy after winning the FA Women's Cup Final match between Everton Ladies and Arsenal Ladies at Stadium mk on June 1, 2014 in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND – JUNE 01: Emma Byrne and Niamh Fahey of Arsenal Ladies with the trophy after winning the FA Women’s Cup Final match between Everton Ladies and Arsenal Ladies at Stadium mk on June 1, 2014 in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

The Arsenal goalie was a world-class player for more than a decade. A very commanding and vocal goalkeeper. Excellent on her line and with a high ball due to her height and confidence in air battles.

Right-back: Lucy Bronze (Liverpool, Manchester City)

NICE, FRANCE - JULY 05: Lucy Bronze lies on the pitch during a England training session during the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 at Parc des Sports Charles Ehrmann on July 05, 2019 in Nice, France. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
NICE, FRANCE – JULY 05: Lucy Bronze lies on the pitch during a England training session during the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 at Parc des Sports Charles Ehrmann on July 05, 2019 in Nice, France. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

A world class defender and counter-attacker. She won the league three times before moving to Lyon in order to win the Champions League.

Centre-back: Stephanie Houghton (Arsenal, Manchester City)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: Steph Houghton (L) captain of Manchester City Women lifts the trophy and celebrates with her team-mate Lucy Bronze after winning the Continental Cup Final between Manchester City Women and Birmingham City Ladies at The Academy Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 02: Steph Houghton (L) captain of Manchester City Women lifts the trophy and celebrates with her team-mate Lucy Bronze after winning the Continental Cup Final between Manchester City Women and Birmingham City Ladies at The Academy Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images)

The England captain was mainly used at right-back while at Arsenal before settling at centre-back at City. A leader on and off the pitch, Houghton is a complete player who could actually play in seven positions on the pitch.

Centre-back: Gilly Flaherty (Arsenal, Chelsea)

HIGH WYCOMBE, ENGLAND - APRIL 14: Gilly Flaherty of West Ham Ladies takes a look at the pitch prior to the Women's FA Cup Semi Final match between Reading Women and West Ham United Ladies at Adams Park on April 14, 2019 in High Wycombe, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)
HIGH WYCOMBE, ENGLAND – APRIL 14: Gilly Flaherty of West Ham Ladies takes a look at the pitch prior to the Women’s FA Cup Semi Final match between Reading Women and West Ham United Ladies at Adams Park on April 14, 2019 in High Wycombe, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

Another multiple FA WSL title winner, Gilly is a solid defender, reliable and quick. She also scored the first ever FA WSL goal back in 2011. She is a natural-born winner as well, a true leader of the defence. Could and should have had more England caps.

Left-back: Niamh Fahey (Arsenal, Chelsea)

REGGIO NELL'EMILIA, ITALY - APRIL 09: Barbara Bonansea of Italy Woman competes for the ball with  Niamh Fahey of Ireland Women during the International Friendly match between Italy Women and Ireland Women at Mapei Stadium - Città del Tricolore on April 9, 2019 in Reggio nell'Emilia, Italy  (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)
REGGIO NELL’EMILIA, ITALY – APRIL 09: Barbara Bonansea of Italy Woman competes for the ball with Niamh Fahey of Ireland Women during the International Friendly match between Italy Women and Ireland Women at Mapei Stadium – Città del Tricolore on April 9, 2019 in Reggio nell’Emilia, Italy (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

The Irish defender was used mainly at left-back for Arsenal before moving to centre-back with Chelsea and now Liverpool. Another reliable, cool customer.

Defensive midfielder: Katie Chapman (Arsenal, Chelsea)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 16:  Katie Chapman of England evades Michael Essien of Soccer Aid World XI during the Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2019 match between England and the Soccer Aid World XI at Stamford Bridge on June 16, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 16: Katie Chapman of England evades Michael Essien of Soccer Aid World XI during the Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2019 match between England and the Soccer Aid World XI at Stamford Bridge on June 16, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

The modern defensive midfielder capable of destroying attacks but also starting counter-attacks quickly with her passing ability. A strong midfielder with no fear of the opposition who would deliver crushing tackles on demand.

Central midfielder: Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal)

BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: Jordan Nobbs of England talks to the press during the England Women's Senior Team Media Day at St Georges Park on October 02, 2019 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 02: Jordan Nobbs of England talks to the press during the England Women’s Senior Team Media Day at St Georges Park on October 02, 2019 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

The England midfielder was in competition with Jill Scott for this spot.  She only edged it because she has won more titles that her counterpart. Both are very similar players, box-to-box, technically strong with an eye for the goal and the ability to break the opposition’s lines.

Attacking midfielder: Kim Little (Arsenal)

via @ArsenalWFC

The Scottish playmaker was in competition with the Korean Maestro Ji So-Yun. She only edged it because she won more titles that her counterpart. Both are phenomenally exceptional technicians.

Right-winger: Gemma Davison (Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea)

KINGSTON UPON THAMES, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Gemma Davison of Chelsea Ladies fouls Jess Clarke of Liverpool Ladies during the Wome's Super League 1 match between Chelsea Ladies v Liverpool Ladies at The Cherry Red Records Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Kingston upon Thames, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images,)
KINGSTON UPON THAMES, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 07: Gemma Davison of Chelsea Ladies fouls Jess Clarke of Liverpool Ladies during the Wome’s Super League 1 match between Chelsea Ladies v Liverpool Ladies at The Cherry Red Records Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Kingston upon Thames, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images,)

No debate here as she is the only player to have won three titles with three different teams. Gemma is an exceptional technical player who can beat any defender in on- to-one situations. It is quite a mystery to me why she has not won more England caps.

Centre-forward: Natasha Dowie (Liverpool)

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 28: Natasha Dowie of the Melbourne Victory in action during the round 7 W-League match between Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory at Dorrien gardens on December 28, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
PERTH, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 28: Natasha Dowie of the Melbourne Victory in action during the round 7 W-League match between Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory at Dorrien gardens on December 28, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Two-times title winner with Liverpool, another player with limited England opportunities despite having a very different profile to most English forwards. She is an ideal team player and would have brought goals and a supplementary tactical option to the team.

The fact that she has scored plenty of goals in every league she has played in, except with the Breakers in the NWSL, is a testament to her ability.

Left-Winger: Karen Carney (Chelsea)

NICE, FRANCE - JULY 06: Karen Carney of England applauds fans after the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France 3rd Place Match match between England and Sweden at Stade de Nice on July 06, 2019 in Nice, France. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
NICE, FRANCE – JULY 06: Karen Carney of England applauds fans after the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France 3rd Place Match match between England and Sweden at Stade de Nice on July 06, 2019 in Nice, France. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

The winger was a two-footed brilliant technical player. Kelly Smith is probably the only English player who can be considered above her in terms of talent and creative play-making. Carney could cross from the left or the right with the same accuracy, and could also score and assist from free kicks and corners.