Chelsea and England striker Lianne Sanderson celebrating an FA Cup victory with previous club Arsenal
England striker Lianne Sanderson was part of the Arsenal side that swept all before them in the English game. This summer, she made the move across London to join Chelsea.
Having been at Arsenal since the age of 9, you recently joined Chelsea, how hard was it to make that move?
After 11 years at Arsenal, leaving the club wasn’t easy. After winning everything there is to win there, I felt I needed a fresh challenge.
You’ve played for England a number of times including the 2007 World Cup, how does it feel to represent your country?
Playing for England is the biggest thing for me; it’s the pinnacle for a player. I was playing for the Under-17s at the age of 14, and now I’m the youngest player in the full squad, but I was immediately made to feel so welcome by the other girls.
What has been the best moment of your career to date?
Winning the quadruple with Arsenal. Winning the UEFA Cup in particular was really special, as we were ranked number one in the world after that.
Have you ever experienced any racist abuse during your career?
I personally have never experienced any racist abuse, and I’m quite proud to say that because to me it means that people are more educated these days.
You grew up playing in a boys’ team, how did your teammates and opponents treat you?
My teammates were great. Some of the opposition’s parents could get really aggressive. They would make comments about me being a girl. I just tried to ignore it. It made me want to prove them wrong.
Do you think the women’s game gets the attention and respect it deserves?
No. When I was at Arsenal, the fans really loved the fact that we were doing so well, and they treated us brilliantly, but overall there is still a long way to go. The success of Arsenal in Europe and the progress of the England team really help, and you just have to look at last season’s FA Cup final, which got 25,000 at Nottingham Forest. The women’s game probably gets a lot more attention in Europe.