Eniola Aluko has highlighted the importance of female athletes as being good role models for the next generation – as Serena Williams was for her.
Chelsea striker Aluko is certainly an inspiration herself by virtue of a star-studded career in women’s football which saw her pick up her 100th England cap in March, 2016.
But she remains as competitive and ambitious as ever, perhaps following in the footsteps of one of her own role models – tennis great Serena Williams.
“I think female athletes have a responsibility to be good role models,” she says.
“I think a lot of girls are growing up these days with that perfect image in their minds – of the Kardashians and other role models which is fine – but that is not real life.
“As female athletes we have a responsibility to show this is what you can do to feel confident about yourself.
“Get into a sport, train, develop as a person, that is what sport does, and it has given me a lot of confidence.
“Sport is a great way to provide role models for young girls to grow as people rather than look at Instagram at the ‘perfect images’ which are not really relatable.”
If both Serena and Venus Williams were inspirations to Aluko in her formative years, she is also believes Britain has much to learn in general from the American approach of their young people playing many sports, and not just concentrating on one.
But she does believe training methods in this country have improved in recent years, not least with more focus on individual-specific work.
Click to hear the full interview, in which the striker reveals another inspiration to be England midfielder Jill Scott, why, for her, ‘winning never gets old’, but also highlights the importance of failure in developing that competitive streak.
And the post-playing ambition?
“I want to run a football club, to be on the Board, involved in making the big decisions.”
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