Women’s World Cup : Chelsea’s and England’s Aluko On Her Coach’s Criticism, Being ‘Accepted’ By The Lads
In part two of the Women’s World Cup #RoadtoCanada series, Eniola Aluko, Chelsea and England forward, has revealed the tough times she faced as a young, female athlete and her determination to inspire young footballers during England’s trip to the World Cup.
“I had one particular coach who said, right before I went to America, that I would never make it. Those things do stick in your mind as much as you pretend it doesn’t. Those things are hurtful and those things do drive you on. I got into the all-star team twice and came back a better player.” – Aluko
“I played for boys’ teams which was great until it became an issue with opposition coaches. They’d say: ‘Oh you can’t have a girl playing, where are the rules that say girls can play?’ I think that’s why I had issues accepting the fact that I was a good footballer. I used to say I played tennis instead because of Venus and Serena Williams, people thought they were great.”
“There comes a point where you have to be ok with what you do. As a woman you’ve got to be ok with the fact that you play football and at a younger age, I wasn’t. I wasn’t comfortable with being a footballer, even though I was good,” she said.
Having played internationally for over 10 years and now close to her 100th cap, Aluko is a staple of Mark Sampson’s squad. Add this to the 32 international goals under her belt and a role in the London 2012 Olympics, it’s difficult to imagine Eniola ever lacking confidence in her footballing abilities.