WITH all the concern and questions about what next for the men in charge of the Football Association, Eni Aluko and Lianne Sanderson’s futures with the Lionnesses have gone uncovered to a certain degree.
The future of Greg Clarke and the rest of the dinosaurs at the FA are of little concern to me. Given how they treated the duo, they should have been relieved of their duties the moment they left the select committee a few weeks ago.
That they refused to apologise to Aluko, who was sitting behind them, speaks volumes about how they view the Chelsea striker and how, from the beginning, they never took her bullying and racism claims seriously.
So that’s all you’re going to get from me on them. The sooner they are out of office, the sooner the governing body can attempt to once again repair the damage done.
As for Aluko and Sanderson, both still have the talent to play for England. Anyone that watches football knows that.
While Aluko has started this season slowly, she was on fire in the Women’s Super League last season and finished as top-scorer. While this wasn’t enough to earn her a Euro 2017 call-up, we now know why that is.
While many think the rightful departure of Mark Sampson will see Aluko welcomed back into the England dressing room with open arms, those same arms which hugged Sampson the game before he was sacked, I am not so sure.
The FA are in a lose-lose situation. A recall sends the message that she never should have been dropped and her absence was not for footballing reasons.
They can spin it as she is now playing at a level which deserves a recall but people will see through that and call them out on it.
If she continues to be hung out to dry on the sidelines, the blacklisting continues and they continue to look institutionally racist.
As for Sanderson, she deserves her 50th cap to be celebrated but not in a condescending way. Treat her like everyone else has been, something which should have been done first time around.
She has said she is up for selection after she returns from injury and she has the talent to make a difference at international level.
“After my injury I’m up for selection, that’s down to the coach and whoever is in charge — whoever they think going forward,” Sanderson said last month.
“We just want to be treated equally and fairly. I can’t speak for Eni but neither of us have retired. Going forward we’d be open to playing for England but a lot of changes need to be made.
“I can’t categorically say yes and I can’t categorically say no because a lot of things need to change for me, personally, to go back there.”
Rectify the mistakes of the past and begin to repair the damage done. Show that there has been a change at international level.
However, I can envisage a scenario where both are called up for a friendly, as a sign that all is well in the England camp, play 20-30 minutes and are then shunted to the side for good.
While there won’t be a statement released, the message behind the scenes would be that the team are looking to the future and the new manager, be it Mo Marley or someone else, wants to take the side in a different direction, one that doesn’t include Aluko or Sanderson.
You have seen it happen in the men’s game, when Rio Ferdinand was omitted from England squads for “footballing reasons,” which puts an end to questions from the media.
But those who follow the game closely will know that there is more to the pair being kept away from the England squad than football reasons.
The FA don’t like being challenged by players, let alone ones that have called them out on the way they have been treated and shown the world what goes on behind the curtain.
It is a joke the way football in England is being run but until there is a change at the top, this will continue to happen.