Eni Aluko: A coach once told me I'd never make it – that drove me on

England and Chelsea goal-getter discusses her path to international stardom...

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"When I was growing up, football was a form of expression; of acceptance. My parents always encouraged me. Had they not done so, I might have gone down another route. 

"The 2012 games changed people's perceptions of women's football. Now, I love saying I'm a female footballer whereas before I would have been scared. It's now respected and something I would encourage young girls to get into because it builds a lot of respect and transferable life skills.

"Scoring goals is the best feeling. Pulling on that shirt for your country gives you pride and responsibility. It's a privilege because you're doing something many people would love to do.

"I've had a few coaches that didn't believe in me. I had one who said I would never make it shortly before I went to play in America. That always stuck with me and drove me on. In the US, I got into the all-star team two years running and came back a better player. 

"As for the tournament in Canada; I believe that we've got the talent to win it. We've just got to make sure we're successful at critical times."