WE’RE TALKING TO… Eniola Aluko
The England and Chelsea footballer, 29, talks about how to be a winner.
1. HOW MUCH IS GOOD NUTRITION KEY TO YOUR SUCCESS?
‘It’s essential I take on the right foods and hydration to perform at my best for 90 minutes. I try to get as much protein in my diet as possible, with lots of fish, chicken, and red meat twice a week, teamed with low-GI carbs such as sweet potato or quinoa.I also take beta-alanine (an amino acid) every day to support muscle endurance, plus magnesium for stamina – it reduces muscle cramps so I can go the distance.’
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2. HAVE YOU MADE SACRIFICES TO GET WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
‘Oh yes! From the age of 14,1 didn’t have a typical tesnage life.I couldn’t go out clubbing or drinking as I was training so hardtrying to make the first team at Birmingham, or commuting to London when I signed forCharltonat 17. I lost a lot of friends as a result. I’ve also sacrificed time withmy family, especially when I was playing and studying at university[Aluko got a first class degree in Law]. But whatever I’m doing, I throw myself into it.’
3. ANY DREAMS YOU STILL WANT TO ACHIEVE?
‘I went to Barcelona recently and saw the Ballon d’Or trophy that Lionel Messi received for being the world’s best footballer, and part of me thought how amazing would it be to win it one day, and to win the Champions league with Chelsea. Outside of football, I’d like to leave a legacy for other women. I want women to look at me and think, ‘Wow, she achieved beyond expectations and broke down barriers – I can do that too.’
4. DO YOU SEE A LIFE BEYOND PLAYING FOOTBALL?
‘Absolutely. I’d love to use my legal skills to work with boards and clubs on the business side of football. I also very much have a media career now, having been the first ever female pundit on Match of the Day in 2014, and more recently for ITV’s Euros coverage – both were incredible experiences and it’s something I’d love to continue doing. The voices of women in football are getting stronger and I’m proud to be a part of that process.’
5. WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT: WINNING OR TAKİNG PART?
‘Nothing beats the joy and elation of winning with yourteam mates, so it’s everything to me. I take defeat to heart because it motivates me to work harder, get better and win the next time around. My mantra is, ‘proceed as if success is inevitable.’