Anita Asante believes England players are afraid to speak out against the Football Association, after Eni Aluko’s bullying allegations aimed towards the national team staff.

Asante, who spent five years at Arsenal, has come out in support of Eni Aluko by questioning the culture surrounding the England Women’s team. Aluko was unhappy about the outcome of two separate investigations into allegations of discrimination by manager Mark Sampson, and broke her silence in a recent interview with the Guardian.

Much like Aluko, Asante has also been ostracised from the England set-up, and has backed her former teammate. “It takes a strong person, with a lot of integrity and courage, to stand up and say something, knowing what the potential consequences could be,” she said to the Guardian. “Players aren’t going to speak out if they feel their personal interests will be hindered.”

“We’re in a competitive sport and all the players have personal goals. They want to play in the World Cup and the other big competitions, and if they feel, ‘If I go against the administration, or the people in charge, that’s going to affect my position in the future,’ they are not going to speak out.

“We’ve been so used to an environment of silence where people daren’t speak up. For Eni to break that mould will hopefully create a shift that will give others confidence to speak out if anything comes up likes this again.”

Asante has her own problems with Sampson, who suddenly left her out the England squad in 2015 without an explanation. The players had been given a deadline for when they would find out who would be included, but Asante was informed during a training camp a month before.

Despite pressing Sampson for an explanation, she never received one, and hasn’t been in contact with him or the FA since then. Asante currently plays for one of the best women’s teams around and plays in the Champions League every season. Her exclusion from the national team seems strange as a result.

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News and feature writer with a BA in Creative and Professional Writing from the University of East London. Long-time Arsenal fan also following Sevilla and local side Southend United. You can find me on Twitter @jeinchy29 talking about Arsenal and the issues affecting the English game,