England striker Eniola Aluko joins TheFA.com as our new columnist. Read her first installment here...
England and Charlton striker Eniola Aluko joins TheFA.com as our new columnist. Read her first installment here...
Hello to readers of TheFA.com,
I am Eniola Aluko of Charlton Athletic FC and England. This is the first post of my new weekly column, and what a week it has been. I firstly would like to congratulate the England men’s team for securing qualification to next year’s World Cup with one game to go.
In the light of some heavy criticism after the loss to Northern Ireland, both Sven and the players have managed to do the job they set out to do. In the summer, I personally experienced the pressures of securing qualification to a World Cup, with the England Women's U19s team. Unfortunately we narrowly missed out on qualification after a 2-1 loss to Switzerland.
After the bitter disappointment I felt, I could totally understand the elation of the men’s team. I was smiling for the rest of the day.
The only real down point for me was to see David Beckham sent off for what I thought was two harsh yellow cards. It was ironic to see him sent off on the day of qualification, especially after that memorable free kick he scored at Old Trafford in the last World Cup qualifying campaign.
It seems there is always some height of drama involving Beckham during the end of World Cup qualifying campaigns! It was vital that we got the goal before the sending off or else it would be scary to think what the possible negative media backlash could’ve been for Beckham if we lost the game after the sending off. After all he has been the subject of blame in the past.
In the absence of Beckham, I felt Wayne Rooney was inspirational against Poland last week. Every time he got the ball I felt something exciting was going to happen. National pride and excitement for the 2006 World cup was so evident throughout the game in what I felt was an overwhelming atmosphere at Old Trafford.Well done to the guys for qualifying top of the group.
Hopefully England women will have the same outcome during our World Cup qualifiers. I am delighted to have been selected for the squad travelling to Hungary at the end of the month. It is vital to keep our winning trend especially after France’s loss to Holland last month.
France are a top class team who will most probably be our toughest test in the group so that result definitely was positive for us. However that is not to underestimate the likes of Holland and Austria who are to a certain extent unknown entities who could trouble us if we allow them to.
On a domestic front Charlton have a huge week ahead. After dropping two points at Leeds last week, we took maximum points against Everton on Sunday but need to beat Arsenal to keep our title chances alive.
Last year we learnt that even one loss or draw could lose the championship.
Talking of big games at Arsenal, my brother, Sone Aluko experienced the day of his life at Highbury two weeks ago. He was an unused substitute for Birmingham City. At only 16 years of age, he was extremely fortunate to be involved in the team and would’ve have been the youngest ever player to play in the Premiership - if he got on.
He said that the 'gaffer' told him to warm up and then Birmingham went and conceded so he decided to keep it tight at the back!
I have to say it is refreshing to see young lads nurtured from academies being given first team opportunities and opportunities to break records. This year my brother is one of them and I’m delighted to see the door has opened for him after some great performances in the reserves.
So it’s been a positive week to say the least. Hit the site next week for a feature interview with my brother Sone Aluko.
Catch you soon
Next Charlton Athletic Ladies FC match:
Home v Arsenal Ladies FC
7.45pm Thursday 20 October
Gravesend & Northfleet FC