Eniola Aluko

Date of birth: 21 February 1987
Place of birth: Lagos, Nigeria
Position: Forward
International: England senior
Trophies won at Chelsea: FA WSL 1 2015, FA Women’s Cup 2015, FA WSL Spring Series 2017

Equally comfortable playing out wide or through the middle as the central striker, Eniola Aluko's pace, finishing ability and creativity make her a key member of the Chelsea Ladies squad.

The England international re-joined the Blues for a second spell ahead of the 2013 season, and played a significant role as the club lifted the first major silverware in its history.

Aluko first signed in 2007 following stints at Birmingham City and Charlton Athletic. She won the FA Women's Cup and the Premier League Cup with the Addicks before heading to the US Women's Professional League in 2008, where she had successful spells with St Louis Athletica, Atlanta Beat and Sky Blue FC.

The nippy forward returned to English football, and Birmingham Ladies, in 2012, during which time she picked up another FA Cup winners’ medal, Chelsea the beaten finalists in Bristol.

Emma Hayes swooped to sign Aluko in December 2012 and she struck six domestic goals in her first season back as well as one in the International Women’s Club Championship as we reached the final in Tokyo.

In 2014, Chelsea missed out on the WSL title only on goal difference but we would make amends a year later with Aluko instrumental. She scored seven goals, one a winner against Liverpool, and laid on many more, including in the first FA Women’s Cup final at Wembley when she teed up Ji So-Yun for the only goal in the midst of a superb individual outing.

In total, Aluko played in 25 of a possible 28 games in all competitions, also featuring in our maiden venture in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

Aluko has also enjoyed a successful international career having made her senior England debut aged just 17.

She famously played at Euro 2005 while taking her A-levels and four years later she scored a memorable goal against the Finnish hosts at Euro 2009.

Her consistency for club and country resulted in her selection for Hope Powell's Team GB squad at London 2012.

She was then named in the England squad for the 2015 World Cup in Canada. She started the first game against France and also came on during the third-place play-off, which England won 1-0 against Germany to secure the bronze medals. 

In March 2016 she won her 100th cap in an international tournament in the United States when she came on as a substitute against France. 

In September 2016 Aluko signed a new Chelsea contract towards the end of a season she would finish as the top scorer in WSL1 with nine goals from only 13 starts.

That was a fine achievement for a player who endured a stop-start opening to the campaign, including having to settle for a place among the substitutes in the Women’s FA Cup final after dazzling in the previous year’s success over Notts County. However, she did appear from the bench to add a touch of urgency to the attack as we looked to force an equaliser.

After the mid-season break, Aluko took up the role as our main striker, having spent much of her time with the Blues as a wide player, and Hayes credited her prolific form as a major factor in the second-place finish which sealed Champions League football for 2017/18.

Aluko was also on target in the Champions League draw at Wolfsburg, her second goal for the club in the competition after netting against Glasgow City the previous year.

The shortened Spring Series campaign was less successful, however, as injury restricted her to only two starts, the second of which at Sunderland was cut short after 15 minutes. 

Aluko added another string to her bow at the 2017 European Championship by appearing as a TV pundit during the tournament. This followed a historic appearance on the BBC in 2014 when she became the first female pundit in the history of Match of the Day.

Eni Aluko

Features 01/03/2017