Ashleigh Plumptre: Ex-England youngster exploring her heritage as a Nigeria international

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“I know the importance of representing something bigger than me.”

Ashleigh Plumptre repeats these words when talking about playing for hometown Women’s Super League club Leicester City, as well as switching national allegiances to play for Nigeria. Despite being a lifelong Foxes fan, as a youngster the defender “saw the badge” of the club she supported as representing only a men’s team.

The former England youth international also never considered that her Nigerian heritage would lead to a call-up to play for the Super Falcons – the nine-time African champions who she made her debut for last week. But then again, a career of any sort in football was not something she envisioned. “When I was younger, my dream was never to be a professional footballer,” she told BBC East Midlands Today. “Football has pushed me beyond my boundaries.”

It’s because of her involvement in the game that she has explored her ancestry – something she admits she previously “never delved into much”. Plumptre is mixed heritage and proud. She is eligible to play for the West African country through her paternal grandfather.

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