Evening Express

Early Little mentor labels Mintlaw’s World Cup-bound midfielder as ‘Scotland’s Pele’

Scotland's Kim Little celebrates her goal to make it 2-0.

One of the people who helped develop World Cup-bound midfield maestro Kim Little has labelled her “Scotland’s Pele”.

Buchan Ladies long-time chairman Colin Wood was speaking after the Scots women won 2-1 in Albania to seal their place at France 2019.

It took only nine minutes for Mintlaw-raised Little, 28, who joined Buchan as a 10-year-old, to volley home the opener.

Scotland have never qualified for the women’s finals before and their qualification means they’ve reached two major tournaments in a row after the Euros – which Little missed through injury – last year.

Colin said: “It’s absolutely fantastic for a player from the north-east to be going to the World Cup.

“Kim started with us and went on to become Scottish Player of the Year, then she was British Player of the Year, and now she’s at the World Cup.

“It’s absolutely tremendous and a great inspiration to the youngsters coming up in the club.

“She’s Scotland’s Pele basically in the ladies section.”

Little, who is into a second spell at Arsenal, has also played top-level club football for Hibernian, Seattle Reign and Melbourne City.

She also played for Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics.

Little was the first girl to be awarded the Green Final skills trophy by this newspaper in 2003 – at the time columnist Joe Harper said her middle name was “Maradona”, so she’s now been compared to two of the best players of all time.

Kim Little winning the Green Final skills trophy aged 13.

However, Colin says her talent went hand in hand with hard work, and this is why she is a good example to youngsters of what can be achieved.

“She had a lot of ability and a lot of talent, but that’s not to say she didn’t work hard,” Colin said.