Ashleigh Plumptre: Super Falcons defender reveals why she chose Nigeria over England

Ashleigh Plumptre is under no illusions she made the right decision to play for Nigeria. (Photo Credit: FIFAWWC/X)

Ashleigh Plumptre: Super Falcons defender reveals why she chose Nigeria over England

Asukwo Oduo 11:01 - 07.08.2023

Leicester star Ashleigh Plumptre has opened up on her decision to dump the Lioness of England for the Super Falcons of Nigeria.

The Super Falcons left-fullback had represented England at the Under 17s, Under 19s, and Under 23s levels before switching allegiance to Nigeria two years ago.

The 25-year-old, though born in Leicester England qualified to represent the Super Falcons of Nigeria through her paternal grandfather.

Her decision is based on some deep connection with the black race and her responsibility to represent them, she told the BBC in 2022.

She said many people always assume that she is white. Plumptre insisted that someone does not have to look a certain way but the individual can feel it and be it.

Ashleigh Plumptre and goalkeeper Chaimaka Nnadozie |
Ashleigh Plumptre and goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie

"It's always been an assumption that I'm white."

"I get a lot of messages and people question my heritage a lot, but I can't necessarily blame them. It comes down to education.

"What people see is what they think. People don't want to have the conversation or want to consider anything deeper than what they see.

"It's putting a marker down. It's not just what you predict a Nigerian to be. For me, I know the importance of representing something bigger than me.

"I'm representing the mixed-race community and especially for the younger ones coming through. You don't have to look a certain way or be told you are a certain way, you can feel it and you can be it."

Ashleigh Plumptre against England |
Ashleigh Plumptre against England

It’s about my heritage and family's culture

The Leicester star also told the BBC that she started to consider playing for Nigeria after a heart-to-heart talk with her younger half-sister during the lockdown about racism, African heritage, and a culture.

Her decision stems from a desire for self understanding,learning about her family and heritage.

"For me, it's been a journey of self understanding," she adds. "Knowing more about my heritage, learning more about my family's culture and ultimately trying to be some kind of sounding board for kids of mixed heritage."

Plumptre’s performance at the World Cup

Ashleigh Plumptre agaisnts England |
Ashleigh Plumptre against England

Ashleigh Plumptre has been in superb form for the Super Falcons of Nigeria and has been mainstay in coach Randy Waldrum’s backline.

She has formed an impressive back four with the likes of Gloria Demihen, Ohale, and Michelle Alozie - a backline that has remained unchanged in all of Nigeria’s matches in the tournament. 

Against England, she was at her best, solid at the back and a beast going forward. She rattled the Lioness’ crossbar with a well-taken volley that was unlucky not to find the back of the net.

Her confidence has grown, and many club sides will be looking at stealing her from Leicester City for her imperious performances so far at the Women’s World Cup.