She Kicks Back – Aileen Whelan (Nottingham Forest)

Transformed from a central midfielder to top scorer for he side in the Premier League Northern Division this season.

1. Name: Aileen Whelan

2. Age (D.O.B): 21. 11-08-1991

3. Team: Nottingham Forest Ladies FC

4. Position (and have you always played there)?
Centre forward or wide midfield; I started ladies football as a centre midfielder and in the last 2 seasons I have been playing more as a striker or wide player

5. Team Supporter/Fave player?
I don’t support a team as such, but my dad would want me to say Manchester United! My favourite player at the moment would have to be Ronaldo, the tricks, movement on and off the ball, shooting ability and the pride and enthusiasm he exhibits in every performance, game after game, is unbelievable.

6. Occupation/or what you are studying?
Currently completing my Masters in Applied Child Psychology at Nottingham Trent University, finishing this summer and in the holidays I work in a children’s nursery.

7. Are there other footballers in your family?
Football runs in the family, my dad, uncle and cousins have all played semi-professional but I’m the first female footballer of the family, so I’ve got a lot to prove.

8. Favourite game you have played in (and why)?
My favourite game has to be the charity match for Nottingham Forest against Arsenal last season (2011-12). Playing against England internationals was definitely challenging but something we thrived upon and narrowly missed out, losing 1-0. 

9. Your best attribute as a player?
I think it would have to be my pace or work rate, getting in behind the back line in on goal, or putting a shift in till the final whistle.

10. What are your ambitions in football?
Like most footballers, wanting to progress as an individual is imperative for my development and with development and aiming high, an ambition to play in the Super League is what I would like to achieve in the next couple of years.

11. Who has been the biggest influence in or on your footballing career?
From a youngster my family have always supported me both financially and through encouragement to be the best player I can be. My dad was not only there to support as a family member, but he was also my coach at Rugby Town Girls & Ladies from U-10s to U-14s, so I would say he has been my biggest influence in keeping me in football. Also, the other coaches that I have had along the way to where I am now have all influenced the player I am today.

12. What is the best thing about playing for your team?
With a fairly new squad and a new manager at the start of the season, it was always going to be difficult to gel straight away. However, this was never really an issue as the girls all got on great on and off the pitch and through social events and training, we have become more of a family. Tanya Oxtoby (Manager) came in and from day one, connected and gained respect from the team and is driving us towards a very successful season. The respect that the girls and management team have for one another really shows in the professionalism both on and off the pitch and is proving worthy in the results we are getting.

13. If you got to design your team’s kit, what would it look like?
I quite like the Forest kit, especially the away (blue) strip, it’s smart and having the same as the men’s makes us look more professional as a Nottingham Forest family and not separated from the men’s set up.

14. Do you listen to music to get you motivated, or while you train – if so, what tracks?
I usually get given the role of DJ in the changing rooms before games, and the favourite (for the majority) has got to be ‘Beenie Man ft Future Fambo – Drinking Rum and Red Bull’ great beat to get us motivated to play.

15. Who, that plays for your team, should we know more about and why?
Lauren Howard – right back or right wing. Such a consistent, top level performer that has a never give up attitude. She may be a quieter member of the team but on the pitch she is never shy to put in a challenge. Her pace and positivity sees her attack from full back to produce an overload and gain an advantage further up the field. Lauren has the potential for a great future in football.

She Kicks – the online news service for women’s football