itv euro 2020 pundits

ITV Euro 2020 pundits: Who is Eni Aluko and why was she investigated by the FA?

The football competition is in full-swing

The coverage for this year’s Euro 2020 has begun on ITV and the channel has a wealth of expert pundits on board.

Former footballer Eni Aluko is among them, but where do you recognise her from?

Here’s all you need to know about the soccer ace.

Eni has previously played for England (Credit: Splash News)

ITV Euro 2020 pundits: Who is Eni Aluko?

Eni was born in Lagos, Nigeria.

She moved with her family to Birmingham when she was six months old.

The footballer grew up playing the sport with her brother, Sone, where she soon gained a talent for it.

Read more: Euros 2021: Ian Wright almost made it as a pop star – do you remember his near-hit?

She began her career as Leafield Athletic Ladies. She went on to play for the Birmingham City Ladies team and scored during her debut when she was just 14. 

In 2003, she went on to be named Young Player of the year at The FA Women’s Football Awards.

Despite her heritage, Eni chose to be a part of England’s team rather than her home country’s.

Read more: Euros 2021: Roy Keane makes rare mention of his ‘rock’ wife Theresa

Speaking about her decision, she said: “The main thing for me is for people to understand that choosing to play for England doesn’t mean that I don’t support Nigeria.

“I’m as much Nigerian as I’m British. Of course, Nigeria means a lot to me, it’s part of me, but I’ve been brought up by English coaches.”

The former footballer is making a name for herself in front of the camera (Credit: Splash News)

Eni’s career controversy

Sadly, however, her time on the national team was marred by controversy.

One of her teammates, Lucy Bronze, gave an interview and confessed that she didn’t think Eni was good enough to be part of the squad.

The player was also investigated by The FA over her alleged “negative” behaviour.

A claim was made that she had allegedly assaulted an unnamed teammate, and then coach Phil Neville chose not to select Eni for the team.

In 2016, Eni was paid £80,000 by the FA after she made allegations against former coach Mark Sampson of racism and bullying.

She told The Guardian: “As black players, you don’t always want to be bringing these issues up. You want to just play football.

“You know that the accusations of ‘playing the race card’ are going to come up.

“So I would bite my tongue. I’d see the level of ignorance, roll my eyes and get on with it.”

Why is it called Euro 2020 and not Euro 2021?

The original Euro 2020 tournament was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

However, sporting events can now take place under the latest government guidelines.

As a result of the delay, the competition is still happening using the same name.

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