THE NEW ROONEY; (And she's a schoolgirl from Birmingham).
FORGET Wayne Rooney - England's latest soccer sensation is a Brummie schoolgirl.
Teenage hotshot Eniola Aluko made history last week when she made her full England Ladies debut against Holland at the age of just 17.
Now the talented striker, who once scored an astonishing FIFTY goals in just 16 games, is being tipped to become the biggest-ever British star of female football.
But unlike Manchester United's pounds 27 million hero, Eniola doesn't enjoy the wealthy trappings of a male Premiership player.
Because while Rooney pockets around pounds 50,000 a week in wages, his female counterpart picks up a paltry pounds 90 a game playing for Charlton in the Women's Premier League.
In an exclusive interview, Eniola told how her dreamwas to star for her country at the European Championships in England next summer.
'I know that if I work hard I've got a good chance of making the squad,' she said. 'I want to become the Wayne Rooney of the women's game.'
Eniola began playing football as a child at her home in Kings Norton, Birmingham.
By the age of 11 she was already attracting the attention of local scouts after bagging 50 goals in 16 games for her Broadmeadow Junior School team.
Soon she'd been signed up for Birmingham City Ladies and scored on her team debut against Leeds United. She was 14 at the time - two years younger than Rooney when he made his Premiership bow for Everton.
Eniola, who idolises French superstar Zinedine Zidane, said: 'I remember the goal really well. It was a one-on-one, when you havea lot of time to think about it.
'I went round the keeper and scored. It was a great feeling.'
But while some soccer stars of the men's game are famous for their off-the-field antics, Eniola has her family to thank for keeping her feet firmly on the ground.
Her father Daniel is a Nigerian MP while mum Sheila runs a nursing agency in Birmingham.
She has two younger sisters - Gbemisola, aged four, and Lolade, who's three - while her 15 year-old brother, Sone, is a promising left winger at Blues' youth academy.
'My family have been great but I enjoy study and don't regard it just as a fall-back for my football,' Eniola said.
'I'm doing three A-levels - media, law and psychology - and I want to go to university to study criminal law.
'I have to get As and Bs to go to the uni I want, London School of Economics. If I did get in, it would allow me to live nearer Charlton for my football.'
Eniola transferred to the London club last January and her team currently sits proudly at the top of the league.
But her transfer cost Charlton absolutely nothing - because the women's game is a strictly amateur operation.
And after her England debut against the Dutch, which ended in a 2 - 1 victory, she wants to emulateRooneybybecomingthe undisputed star of the women's game in the UK.
'I really admire him,' Eniola said. 'He has no fear. I was a bag of nerves on my England debut, but he went out last week and scored a Manchester United debut hat-trick in front of 60,000 people.'
HOW THEY MATCH UP
Age: 17Club: Charlton LadiesTransfer Value: None Weekly wage: pounds 90Transport: Train and busWAYNE ROONEYAge: 18Club: Manchester UnitedTransfer Value: pounds 27 million Weekly wage: pounds 50,000Transport: Luxury Audi TT
HOT STUFF: Eniola Aluko in her England shirt and playing for Blues
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|Publication:||Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)|
|Date:||Oct 3, 2004|
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