Eniola Aluko says lack of diversity in the WSL and England Women's national is 'concerning'
ENI ALUKO has criticised the lack of diversity in the WSL and England Women's side and labelled it as concerning.
The former Chelsea ace questioned the current cultural landscape of the women's game with only one non-white player featured in the Lionesses 6-0 thumping of Northern Ireland.
The Aston Villa Women's football director feels progress with diverse representation has hit the skids since Hope Powell's departure from the Lionesses' dug-out in 2013.
And Aluko believes a loose links between talent in urban areas and youth set-ups at top clubs could be one of the causes.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Aluko said: "I'm not sure progress has been made.
"I think when you look at the representation across the England women's team, it is concerning.
"I'm not one to say that anybody should be picked just because of their race.
"But I certainly think that in a country like England you have to ask the question of why there isn't as much representation as certainly there was before, under managers like Hope Powell.
"I think there's a variety of reasons for that, maybe there's a disconnect between academies now.
"Where the game is professionalising, there's a little bit of a disconnect between inner-city talent and academies that are training in the suburbs of cities."
However, Aluko stressed players should be picked for club or country based on merit and ability rather than skin colour.
And she believes Bristol City's Ebony Salmon should walk into the Lionesses team based on her current performances.
The former Man United striker, 20, has been in fine form for Bristol this term netting six goals in 16 league games.
Aluko added: "I think at the top level there has to be an appreciation of making sure that every player is given the best opportunity to be judged on their performance.
"Somebody like Ebony Salmon for example absolutely deserves to get into the team, based on her goals and based on her performance, not anything else.
"And I think that we need to make sure that we are assessing everybody objectively whichever background they come from, whichever experience they've had."
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Aluko enjoyed a glittering career with the Lionesses winning 102 caps, scoring 33 goals in the process.
And the ex- England striker won Women's FA Cup medals with Birmingham City and Chelsea.
The former WSL ace played an influential role in the Blues' Cup win in 2012 with Blues and in the triumph of Emma Hayes' team in 2015.
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