Lianne Sanderson tells her football story in Sport Allies film for National Inclusion Week

"If one girl's inspired, then so be it"; England star Sanderson speaks in powerful new 'Spotlight' short film by Sport Allies and the London Film School

In the second 'Spotlight' film from Sport Allies and the London Film School, England star Lianne Sanderson shares her story and describes how she continues to fight for young girls in football

"They had a lot more respect for her after the game than they did before."

As a stand-out player in a boys team, the young Lianne Sanderson began shattering expectations at an early age.

Lianne Sanderson, Arsenal
Image: Growing up as an Arsenal fan, Lianne went on to win five league titles and seven cup competitions with the Gunners

Her parents always believed in her ability and her will to win. Dad Jeff changed jobs and racked up thousands of miles around the M25 in order to ensure Lianne's burning passion for football was best supported.

People who know me, know how much I love football. Football is my religion, and I eat, sleep and breathe it.
Lianne Sanderson

Growing up in Catford, south-east London, she dreamed of making it to the top of the women's game - and her persistence and dedication ultimately paid off. Now aged 31, she can look back on a career that delivered a half-century of England international caps, a slew of honours with her beloved Arsenal, and club spells in the USA, Spain and Italy along the way.

HAMILTON, CANADA - MAY 29: Lianne Sanderson #20 of England during their match against Canada during their Women...s International Friendly match on May 29, 2015 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Lianne Sanderson
Image: Sanderson scored 15 goals in 50 appearances for England

In the second of three short films on inclusive sport specially created by the charity Sport Allies working with talented graduates and students from the London Film School, and supported by Sky Sports, Sanderson tells her inspirational story alongside her close friend Sharifa and her family.

Spotlight, Sport Allies logo
Image: Sport Allies have teamed up with London Film School and Sky Sports on 'Spotlight' - a new set of shorts about inclusion in sport

Amid the sacrifices made by the Sandersons, there were other challenges to overcome. Lianne reflects on incidents of racism; of stereotypes attributed to gay players; and the uphill battle to earn respect in her own right and for women's football in general.

"I want people to know that they shouldn't judge people so quickly," says Sanderson. "People make comments about me, and they don't know anything about me."

Also See:

Get to know the real Lianne Sanderson, and learn about her life in football by watching the video above.

Sky Sports is proud to support both the Sport Allies 'Spotlight' short films project, and National Inclusion Week 2019.

Contact us if you'd like to share a story to help raise awareness around inclusion in sport.

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