Formby’s Blackburn Rovers Ladies star Annabelle Blanchard has called for greater opportunities for young girls in football.
The 19-year-old emphasised the importance of allowing young girls to have to the chance to seek new sports and interests in school.
She said: “It never seemed fair to me that the boys all got to play football.
“I had to play netball, something that I had no interest in.”
Blanchard signed for Blackburn in January 2021 after her first professional season with Leicester City and almost 14 years with Liverpool Ladies.
The forward signed for Liverpool at the age of five after receiving an invite to the club via letter.
She is now calling for participation to increase, something that should be done at the grassroots level.
“I never felt like there was clear enough chances outside of the academy.
“Whether that was in school or of a weekend, it shouldn’t have felt as difficult as it was to be able to just play football.”
Blanchard is enduring a challenging season at Blackburn, yet she believes her home city has given her the grit to turn things around.
“Being from Liverpool I’ve learnt how to be tough in the face of a challenge. I want to be the best player I can.
“Not just for my own form but to also keep inspiring young girls wanting to give them a role model.”
Blanchard had found International success at youth level, representing England from the under 16s level to under 19.
Now she’s now looking to make her way into the senior side.
“International football is obviously where every play wants to be, and it’s no different for myself.
“I believe I can work hard enough to earn a spot in that squad for a major tournament in the future.
“Obviously it’s difficult when you’re not playing at the highest possible level, but by applying myself in training and matches, whether it be with Blackburn or elsewhere, I think I can be involved with the senior setup.”
(Images courtesy of Blackburn Rovers Ladies)