ALISHA LEHMANN has hit back at online trolls who say she ‘doesn’t even play football’
The Aston Villa player has four goals and two assists in her 20 appearances this season for the team, but is arguably better known for her social media presence.
Lehmann has attracted a mammoth 11.8million followers on Instagram and 6.5million followers on her TikTok account, making her the world’s most-followed women’s footballer.
She even had to get the help of Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford on a night out to fend off a mob of blokes at a nightclub.
Her large online presence means she often receives online abuse though, with trolls telling her she “doesn’t even play” if she doesn’t post a football photo.
In an interview earlier this year, the Swiss forward said “Some people just see Instagram and social media and don’t even know I actually play football, when I don’t post a football picture for a week, people say, ‘Oh she doesn’t even play’.
“I think sometimes it’s a bit hard because obviously I train every day, like everyone else, I play every weekend and sometimes it’s hard because they make a picture of you.
“I’m a proper footballer. I work hard every day. I want to be the best version of myself in football and that’s my first priority in life.”
However, she has learned not to let the online abuse affect her.
She said in an interview with Football Daily: “It gives me strength because I feel like 100% you want my life.”
The 24-year-old said that she is more affected by her family witnessing the abuse.
She said: “I don’t really care [about criticism on social media]. I don’t read the stuff.
“It’s more for my family because sometimes I feel bad about this because my Mum sends me stuff then I feel like, ‘Mum, don’t read this’. It’s not important.
“It doesn’t even affect me because I know that those people aren’t important for me, it’s more annoying for me that my family reads it or someone that’s close to me who asks me about it after.”
She also said that she wants to see more Women’s Super League games played in bigger stadiums next season.
“Every single game we play in big stadiums we see the fans are coming, so it’s not like we’re playing in a big stadium and there’s no fans coming.
“We sold out the big stadiums in England, and that’s why I think we just need support from the clubs, that they can give us opportunities to play in the big stadiums.”
The Villa star signed a new one-year extension with the team last summer which runs out at the end of the 2022-23 season.
Lehmann played for West Ham Women and Everton Women before Villa, and has been capped over 30 times for Switzerland.
She earned her first cap for Switzerland in October 2017, going on to score her first goal in March 2018, and helped West Ham reach the Women’s FA Cup final the same year.
She is expected to represent Switzerland down in Australia for the Women’s World Cup later this summer, but will first finish the Women’s Super League season with Aston Villa.
The team currently sits fifth ahead of matches against Liverpool and Arsenal.