In-form Eniola Aluko sets her sights on Ukraine

Wednesday 07 May 2014
Eniola Aluko has scored seven goals in her last seven England starts

Eniola Aluko is hoping to continue her purple patch in front of goal when England entertain Ukraine in their last home World Cup qualifier on Thursday night.

The Chelsea striker has scored seven goals in her last seven starts, including five in this qualifying campaign.

England have won all five qualifiers to date but, ranked 24th in the world, on paper Ukraine represent the biggest threat to the Three Lions’ qualification hopes.

England v Ukraine

  • FIFA Women's World Cup 2015
  • Group 6 qualifier
  • 7.30pm, Thursday 8 May
  • Greenhous Meadow, Shrewsbury Town FC
  • Call 01743 273 943 for tickets
  • Live on BBC Two

However, Aluko is in a positive frame of mind after the extra hours she has put in on the training pitch.

She said: “My recent record gives me confidence to know that if I get a chance I can put it away.

“One of my aims over the last two years was to score more goals for England and I’m really pleased I’m doing that now. I’m getting assists as well and that’s equally important for the team so I’m happy with that, too.

“I’m always working on my finishing and it helps now training four or five times a week with Chelsea. Literally before every training session I’m practising in front of goal – not just on my shooting but on getting into the right positions. I don’t think you should ever stop doing that as a forward.”

Aluko continued: “I was listening to [Liverpool and England striker] Daniel Sturridge the other day and he was asked what he did to improve his goalscoring record. He said that you should never, ever stop improving.

“I took a lot from what he said. I think it’s really important to put the hours in in training so when it comes to a game you’re confident. That’s what I’ve done and it’s paying off right now.”

Mark Sampson’s side have yet to be truly tested in this campaign – they have scored 29 goals without reply on their way to the Group 6 summit – and they eased to a 9-0 win over Montenegro last time out.

And it’s not just Aluko who is finding the back of the net. The currently injured Manchester City striker, Toni Duggan, has bagged two hat-tricks, Birmingham captain Karen Carney has hit a treble of her own and there were seven different goalscorers in the last game.

However, Aluko, whose brother Sone is a part of the Hull City squad currently gearing up for their FA Cup Final against Arsenal, said England will not take their next opponents for granted.

The 27-year-old added: “We need to build on what we’ve done in the previous qualifiers.

"Ukraine will be stronger opposition than we faced last time against Montenegro. We will have to focus on the attacking principles that we have been trying to bed in, while at the same time being aware of their strengths because they can hurt us if we let them.

“There’s a positive feel around the camp. We are trying to prove ourselves as a team and as individuals. After scoring nine goals in your last game you have to be confident, but we are aware that Ukraine will be tough so we will be far from complacent. It will just be about trying to build on what we’ve done in our last few games.”

She continued: “We have got an unbelievable record in front of goal in this campaign. People might say that it’s against some weaker opposition but you’ve still got to put the ball in the back of the net – and a lot of players are doing that. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be confident of doing that in every game.

“Hopefully we can get the result against Ukraine and keep pushing on.”

By Glenn Lavery