Chelsea Ladies striker Eniola Aluko is raring to make her mark on the Women’s World Cup as she prepares to lead the line for England against Mexico on Saturday.
Aluko, who has netted 32 goals in 96 games for the Lionesses, is yet to score at a World Cup but the Blues forward is determined to break the duck in her third tournament on the global stage.
Speaking to theFA.com, she said: ‘I’ve got another opportunity. It’s exciting. I’ve scored a lot of goals for club and country and hopefully I can do that at the World Cup.’
The pacey striker was named Chelsea Ladies Player of the Year in May in recognition for her important contribution to the side that sits top of the FA Women’s Super League over the international break and finished runners-up last season.
She also played a crucial role in England’s procession through World Cup qualifying, scoring 13 goals to help Mark Sampson’s side win all 10 of their group matches.
Her hard work as a lone striker earned widespread plaudits after England’s opening game of the competition against France in Winnipeg, which ended in a 1-0 defeat with a first-half strike by Lyon attacker Eugenie Le Sommer proving decisive.
Coming second in Group F may give a team an easier route through the knockout stages. The Group F winners are on a quarter-final collision course with European champions Germany, the best team in the FIFA rankings, so finishing behind France may boost England’s chances of reaching the last four round of a World Cup for the first time.
Against Mexico, Aluko is likely to have more support from midfield with attacking players such as Birmingham City winger Karen Carney and Arsenal’s Jordan Nobbs expected to return to the side. Further forward, she could be partnered by Gunner Leanne Sanderson.
Chelsea’s centre-forward is confident that she can make amends for missing key opportunities when England drew 1-1 with Mexico at the 2011 World Cup.
‘In that game I could have done much better and finished the chances I had, but that’s only motivation for me,’ she said.