#EURO2013 Player Interview: Eni Aluko

The England squad are a little subdued after last night’s result but there is an air of quiet determination about the team too. We spoke to first goalscorer Eniola Aluko…

England striker Eni Aluko is determined to get on the score sheet as often as possible for her country this season. The 26-year-old made inroads into that quest on Friday when she scored the first of England’s two equalisers against Spain. Any personal satisfaction from that first half goal dissipated at the final whistle as the team lost the match 3-2. But the Chelsea player is now in her fifth major tournament finals and knows that while there are still games to play, there is hope of a turnaround. We caught up with Eni the day after that opening game to discuss the reaction in the camp, her goal and the support from friends, family and fans.

On the mood at breakfast:

It was a bit sombre, we‘re human and losing a game in that manner, people are going to be reflective and collectively as players we all know it wasn’t good enough and we can perform a lot better but you have to take a lot of heart from the fact that we have been here before. If the game had finished 2-2 we would have been saying this team has a lot of character to fight back and blah, blah, so I think we need to look ahead and focus on the fact that we have to get six points from the next two games.

On scoring the first equaliser:

I almost forgot I scored. I was disappointed with my own performance actually, I think I could have played better, sloppy in possession at times. I think it’s pleasing to get on the score sheet, that is one of my aims this season to score more for England and get in those positions to be more clinical and I’m glad I did that, it’s just a shame that we didn’t get the three points as well.

(Eni speaking to 5 Live from the Team Hotel this lunchtime.)

On past experience:

A lot of people criticise the fact that the third placed team goes through and depending on what side of the fence you sit on you can criticise that or you can say that’s actually really good because potentially you could go through. Not that that’s our aim, our aim certainly is to win every game we play and six points will be our aim. But it does help to know that that’s a route and the route we got to in 2009 but we’ve been here before and are capable of showing character at this point.

On nerves against Spain:

We are human beings, you are going to be nervous. We knew that 1.5m people are watching back home and we see tweets and people’s families turning up and you are going to feel it but for us as players it’s how we react to that. It shouldn’t come with you on the pitch. Maybe it did, it’s not something the players want to feel, it’s about finding that level of performance where nerves go out the window. It should go in the second game, in a way you’ve blown the cobwebs out and there’s no point being there, you’ve got to go for it, so hopefully we’ve learnt from this experience.

On support on social media:

It’s overwhelming actually. I tweeted on Friday night thank you to everyone, you are inundated with messages and want to respond to every one but you can’t. It’s amazing the level of support and those are just people on Twitter. There are so many people, family, friends, work colleagues that watch it so you do sense a level of responsibility which always comes with wearing an England shirt, but it’s good to know that that amount of support is behind you.

On night matches:

It is a late night but it is for all the teams so it’s not something to focus on too much. Kick off time is kick off time and if you asked players if they would play at 2am in the morning they would probably say yes. I don’t sleep anyway after games, ever, so it’s just about getting on with it.

SHE KICKS – the online community for women’s football

Upcoming Events

Would you like to read more women’s football news just like this? Sign up to receive the She Kicks Women’s Football newsletter