The 23-years-old won Leicester City women’s players player of the year award as a defender, surprisingly started her career as a striker.
“I grew up playing as an attacking player, I usually played left wing. I played like a number 11.” she told Ojbsport.
She further disclosed former Arsenal captain inspired her to play the position.
“I remember having Henry at the back of my Arsenal shirt. I think because I like him as a person and as a player for Arsenal, he was one of the greats and our physique looks similar.
“He’s tall and was quite slim and I had that frame growing up.”
Switching to a defender
We’ve seen various cases of footballers who switched from various positions to the other, most times, it’s because a coach suggested it or tried them in it.
During Ashleigh’s time at the University of Southern California, Coach Keidane McAlpine of USC Trojans switched her from the attacking position to a defender when the need arose.
“When i went to America, during my third year as my junior year, I got played as a right back because there was an available spot at the time, so they tried me there and it was fine.”
“I was a left footed right back and then I could cut in and people won’t know how to defend it and I really liked it.”
An opportunity presented itself for the Leicester born defender and she grabbed it with both hands.
“In my final year, one of our best CB graduated and we needed someone to step in there. I said to coach Kadani that i would try it, because I knew he was going to ask me to try it. At first, I doubted myself a little bit because all I had known was to go forward.”
The former England youth defender is enjoying her newly found role in football. She boisterously expressed how she felt about being a defender.
“I love it now, CB have to be the leaders on the pitch, they hear everything, they dictate everything.”
“I’ve learned to appreciate that defending is an art. I learned in America how to manipulate my body to defend better and then I’ve come to England to refine things about my defending.”
Ashleigh has so far fitted well in the position for club and country. She made her debut in the Super Falcons’ 1-0 win against ŽNK Olimpija Ljubljana in Vienna Austria.