Two of our England Women’s medical leads are hoping that their success can help to inspire more people from a similar background into a career in football.
In the latest of our Football & Me series, focusing on Asian people involved in the game, we hear from the Lionesses’ lead physiotherapist Alicia Tang and lead performance doctor, Ritan Mehta.
Both have been working with England’s senior squad for several years now, with Alicia joining back in 2016 and Ritan having been involved for over eight years which has included roles across a number of teams.
And they have both spoken about their experiences in the roles they hold within the team and how they found themselves in this position.
"When I first started out, there wasn't a lot of Chinese physios and I still don't meet a lot of Chinese physios,” revealed Alicia, who joined the England set-up from the Chinese Olympic team in 2016 and originally hails from Melbourne in Australia.
"I think it's about making sure that we encourage within the Asian community to be involved in football or sport in general. It's not something that's generally encouraged, academic studies are, but it can be combined and I've managed to do it.
"Physio was always something I wanted to do - I remember doing work experience in year ten with a really well-known Australian physiotherapist called Michael Vadiveloo who’s also from an Asian background.”
Ritan echoed his colleague’s thoughts and is keen to help inspire more visibility of Asians involved at the elite end of the game.
"When I was younger, you didn't see many Asians going to watch football, and you can't be what you can't see,” he said.
“And if there's no-one who's like you or who comes from your area or community, it's really hard to aspire or see yourself in that position.
"Ever since I wanted to do medicine, I wanted to work in football medicine so it was a dream when I was a 15 or 16 year old, as I'd always loved and played football.
"I was never going to make it as a footballer so to have the ability to combine it with another career and in my case medicine, was really exciting.”