Eni Aluko hopes to cement England place at Cyprus Cup
Eni Aluko, a member of Kick It Out’s Professional Players Guidance Group, hopes she can stake a claim for a regular starting role with England after being named in Mark Sampson’s 24-strong party for the Cyprus Cup next month.
The Chelsea Ladies striker is one of eight strikers named by Sampson for the annual tournament, as England try and successfully defend the trophy they won last year.
England squad for the Cyprus Cup in full:
Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Rachel Brown-Finnis (Everton), Siobhan Chamberlain (Arsenal)
Laura Bassett (Chelsea), Gemma Bonner (Liverpool), Sophie Bradley (Notts County), Lucy Bronze (Liverpool), Alex Greenwood (Everton), Stephanie Houghton (Manchester City), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Demi Stokes (University of Florida)
Anita Asante (Malmo), Jade Moore (Birmingham City), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Fara Williams (Liverpool)
Eniola Aluko (Chelsea), Karen Carney (Birmingham City), Gemma Davison (Liverpool), Natasha Dowie (Liverpool), Toni Duggan (Manchester City), Lianne Sanderson (Boston Breakers), Kelly Smith (Arsenal), Ellen White (Notts County)
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From Sky Sports
England have been drawn in Group A and will play Italy on 5 March, before taking on Finland and Canada. They will then play one of the other eight teams from either Group B or C on 12 March.
Aluko, who has 22 goals in 79 appearances for her country, insists she is relishing a return to competitive tournament football for England.
“We’ll be going out there and looking to retain our trophy,” she said. “It’s always a good tournament to be part of and I’m very much looking forward to it.
“It’s always nice to play against good opposition internationally so I’m excited to be a part of that. Hopefully I can play well and cement my place in the team.”
Aluko scored the first goal of Sampson’s England reign in last month’s 1-1 draw against Norway in La Manga.
The 26-year-old has hailed Sampson’s arrival, insisting the former Bristol Academy manager has breathed new life into the national team.
“It’s so far so good – Mark is a really energetic guy, he’s really enthusiastic,” Aluko said. “He’s got a real way about him on the training pitch in terms of motivating players.
“He’s got a style of play which he is going to look to implement – an attacking style of play with an emphasis on winning the ball back as soon as possible defensively.
“It’s always good to hear a different voice and I think the girls have responded really positively to it.
“I think as individuals it is going to be very competitive for us in terms of getting into his squad and we’ll all be looking to do that and play well for him so it’s exciting times for us all.”