Get To Know Super Falcons’ Defender, Ashleigh Plumptre

Get To Know Super Falcons’ Defender, Ashleigh Plumptre

Leicester City defender Ashleigh Plumptre makes her professional debut for Super Falcons.

Ashleigh Plumptre who has a Nigerian father, played junior levels for England before she trained with the Super Falcons earlier this year. She spoke to PUNCH about her first visit to Nigeria, why she opted to play for the Falcons and learning the Nigerian culture in this interview with NFF Media.

How did you get into football?

I started playing football when I was four. I played for Leicester City when I was eight till I was 14, then played around for few clubs in England. I played for Birmingham City, Derby County and Notts County before going to America, where I played for the University of Southern California.

I got back from the United States in December 2019, signed a two-year contract with Leicester and we got promoted from the Championship to the Women’s Super League for this season. So, it’s my first year in the Super League.

Why did you choose to play for the Super Falcons?

I had experiences playing with England when I was younger and I really enjoyed them. I have to be honest, what football means to me now is different from what it was when I was younger.

The biggest thing to me now is my family pretty much. I have two younger brothers and one younger sister. My sister and I have the same dad. My dad is Nigerian, my grand dad was born in Lagos, my two brothers have an English mum and their dad’s also English.

My sister’s hue is a bit different to mine but we’re both Nigerian, but she has one or two things that I haven’t and we’ve been interested in knowing more about our heritage based on how she identifies herself and how I do as well.

It’s only been in the last couple of years especially last year during the Coronavirus pandemic when my sister and I kind of bonded over the fact that we had this Nigerian heritage.

She’s only 11 and I feel like I can help and advise her on a lot of things, so it’s like I’m taking her on a journey with me.

Do you plan to trace your origin?

Definitely, I talk to my grand dad. He goes back and forth from Nigeria all the time. He lives in England now but he was brought up in Lagos and as I said, he’s constantly coming back here (Nigeria).

We’re learning through him, we have other Nigerian relatives in England who go back and forth too. This is my first time in Nigeria, I’m just trying to learn from my family. I have family (members) all over the world but they always come back to Nigeria.

Are you learning the Nigerian culture and what’s the feeling like since you started training with the team?

I’m trying to learn through my sister and my grandfather at the moment and the physio helps me anytime I see her; she tries to teach me Yoruba words.

I can learn as much as I want when I’m in England but you’ll never get the real feel if you’re actually not here. The little things are just fascinating. I’m here for football but I’m learning about things that are just as important that I’ll probably take for granted at home.

What do you think about the food?

The food is really interesting.

At home, my step mum cooks it and she was taught by my aunt. My step mum is white and British, my dad is Nigerian and he doesn’t even cook the food.

Everything I have at home is always super hot, hotter than it is here but at home, I have to have milk with it because it’s so hot. At home I love moi moi. The jollof rice here is not as spicy as it is at home, which is great.

I had to adapt because my stomach, for the first two days, was hurting because the food was different. But I feel like I’m accustomed to it now and I said to my family that I’m trying to have something different everyday just to tell them what I’ve had. I feel like English food is pretty blind, so it’s always good to try something that has a little more flavour.

Since you play for Leicester, have you found time to link up with Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi, who play for the men’s team?

No, I haven’t, which is really annoying and it is mainly because of COVID-19 because they got to separate us a little bit.

We recently had a memorial for the chairman and myself and two other captains went and the men’s team were there as well. It was the first time we’ve actually been around them. It was a kind of an in-and-out thing for them as they had to go prepare for a game.

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