Former England youth defender Ashleigh Plumptre says she would play for Nigeria at senior worldwide stage – if the West African nation got here calling.
The 23-years-old, who performs for newly-promoted Girls’s Tremendous League (WSL) aspect Leicester Metropolis, is eligible to play for the Tremendous Falcons due to her father’s Nigerian heritage.
Having helped information the Foxes to the FA Girls’s Championship title in 2020/21, Plumptre was voted participant of the season and rewarded with a new two-year deal.
And, regardless of 30 England caps at youth stage, Plumptre says she wish to play for Nigeria.
“The thought of me with the ability to play for Nigeria, with that being an possibility, I might fortunately seize that with each palms,” she advised BBC Sport Africa.
“What representing one thing that basically means to any individual is essential. Clearly, there’s a whole lot of issues I can brazenly say that I do not find out about Nigerian tradition however I wish to study as a result of I do know that it is in me, and it is in my sister and in my dad.
“We are able to solely get it from my granddad, he is the one factor that we all know by way of Nigeria. I’ve clearly visited Nigerian kinfolk in America and in England.
“Seeing this little journey my sister and I’ve been on, and the understanding of our household heritage, not simply that however watching Nigerian documentaries and studying in regards to the previous is unbelievable.”
Understanding her heritage
Life-long Foxes fan Plumptre performed 25 video games this season for the membership she first joined as an eight-year-old and beforehand performed within the WSL with Notts County in 2014, earlier than shifting to america.
Stints stateside with US school aspect USC Trojans and LA Galaxy adopted, earlier than she returned from finding out in January 2020 to play a key position in a memorable season for the Foxes.
After establishing herself at membership stage, Plumptre who has a British mom, believes a possible worldwide profession with Nigeria may pave the best way for different biracial footballers to comply with.
“What it would imply for me as any individual who’s British born however with Nigerian heritage is large. Individuals take a look at me and so they assume I am tanned and that I have been on vacation, they do not assume that I am Nigerian,” she added.
“I do not assume that needs to be vital in saying whether or not any individual is Nigerian or not as a result of it is in your blood, it is not about what you seem like.
“My sister, she seems African as a result of she has an Afro and her pores and skin tone is darker than mine, with that clearly, she’s had totally different experiences at school than I’ve had.
“I feel with soccer being my platform, I’m utilizing that as one thing that is larger than me. As a lot as I can resonate with my Nigerian heritage.
“I really feel like I can hopefully encourage somebody like my sister or different youngsters like her possibly on this nation or different international locations to take a look at me and be like what? It does not matter what your pores and skin tone seems like.
“Should you can resonate together with your heritage and it means one thing to you, it means you’ll be able to characterize one thing larger than you, then that is what it comes all the way down to.
“I feel folks too typically take a look at the floor of this relatively than really attempt to discover out inside what our drives and passions are, and what means quite a bit to us.”
Following the Tremendous Falcons
The continent’s most profitable nationwide aspect with 9 African titles, Nigeria are the one African crew to have performed in all eight Girls’s World Cups since 1991.
Regardless of possessing the expertise to probably make the step as much as Englands senior aspect, Plumptre has been rising professionally and totally conscious of the Tremendous Falcons’ rise within the international recreation.
“While you go searching there are a number of Nigerian gamers enjoying on the prime stage of the ladies’s recreation,” she identified.
“With the Tremendous Falcons I’ve been following them and the continued progress the crew is making. However one participant that I keep in mind is Asisat Oshoala.
“She was at Liverpool after I performed for Notts County, then I used to be about 16 and the large factor was having Oshoala over at Liverpool.
“That was the large identify after which she clearly went to Arsenal. And all people knew of her and the way proficient she was. For me an an English particular person, she was Nigerian soccer to me.”
She’s hoping to satisfy the membership’s Nigerian worldwide duo Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho quickly, insisting that the pandemic has made it tough to hyperlink up with them.
“With Leicester Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Ihenacho have been a great roles mannequin for me. It is humorous we’ve not met however that is all due to Covid however in some unspecified time in the future hopefully we’ll be capable of meet one another,” she defined.
Plumptre has been immersed within the tradition, meals and music of her father’s ancestral dwelling, however admits she has by no means visited the nation.
“I take heed to a whole lot of music however my favorite style is traditional 90s R&Bs, the stuff my dad grew up listening to are what I take heed to now,” she defined.
“However with regards Nigerian songs I like, I’ll go along with veteran and legendary musician King Sunny Ade as a result of I’ve heard a few of his data.
“I actually benefit from the Nigerian Jollof rice, fish stew however my favorite meal is moi-moi [steamed and flavoured cakes of ground beans].”