Fan favourite Lehmann loving West Ham life
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
West Ham United Women’s Alisha Lehmann is one of the finest young talents in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.
Lehmann was key in the Hammers 2019/20 season as they finished eighth when the season was cut short, playing 13 games and accumulating 966 minutes of action.
Speaking about how her adventure into football began Lehmann said: “I started playing football in Switzerland when I was six years old.
“I played football with the boys all the time, I was the only girl and then I stopped playing for a little while but when I was around seven and a half, I began to play again and at that time there were a few girls in the team.
“We still played with the boys but now there were three girls who I became best friends with, I was always so happy to go to training as it felt much easier as I wasn’t alone.
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“I continued to play with the boys team until under-16 level and then after that I moved to my first all-women’s team – BSC Young Boys in Bern – before I then made the move to West Ham.”
Lehmann is a big hit with West Ham fans thanks to her pace and skill and also has a good eye for goal – netting three times in the league, with every goal coming against the same opponent Brighton.
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Asked what her career highlight was to date, the 21-year-old added: “I have two career highlights, when I played in the Euro under-17 tournament with Switzerland, we went all the way to the final.
“We weren’t favourites so nobody expected us to progress to the final and after we won against Germany 1-0 in the semi-final it shocked a lot of people.
“We went to the final but we lost against Spain but it was still a really good highlight in my career.
“The FA Cup final against Manchester City is an easy choice because that was like a huge thing, we had a lot of fans.
“It was huge, with the fans and to play in front of that crowd it was really really cool, so that’s the biggest highlight of my career I think.
The 2019 FA Women’s Cup final was played in front of 43,264 at Wembley Stadium and although the Hammers suffered a 3-0 defeat it was still a special day for Lehmann and her teammates.
Having played in both England and Switzerland, Lehmann was asked what the main differences are between the style of football in both countries.
She said: “In England it’s much quicker and physical and there’s not a great gap of skills from those teams sitting at the bottom to those at the top, whereas in Switzerland there’s a big difference.
“Also no one is that quick in Switzerland, that’s also a difference as in England a few girls are quick, really strong and physical.
“In Switzerland they want to play really technical football, than really physical football so I would say that is the main difference.”
Lehmann also spoke about how much she is loving her West Ham adventure, as she said passionately: “At the moment I’m really happy at West Ham, I really enjoy playing there so much.
“The club are like a family to me and also the coach Matt Beard, we are so happy with him, we like him and the club and team are really close together.
“When we get time off the team are always together to enjoy the time with one another, we are really close and we like to play football with each other.
“When you go to training it’s exciting because we get to play again and get better with every session that we do.”
The West Ham winger is also a big hit with football fans around the globe as she boasts over a million Instagram followers as her football career continues to rise year after year.
Talking about what she enjoys most about playing In East London she said: “The best part of playing for West Ham is that we are like a family.
“In every training session we try to get better and we’ve improved a lot I think, in the last few weeks before coronavirus suspended the season we were playing well.
“We always have so much fun in training, it’s a really good team because we are so close with one another.”
Lehmann has played for Switzerland at youth and senior level and was asked to name the highlight of playing for her country to date.
“It would be the Under-17 European Championship when we got to the final and for the first team it would be playing in the World Cup qualifiers against Belgium,” she added.
“I came in and scored two goals, that was the biggest thing for me because I didn’t expect that, I don’t think anybody expected that, so that was quite cool.”
Lehmann then went on to expand on her highlights at West Ham to date, saying: “As I said the FA Cup final was amazing to see the West Ham flags and banners, I really liked that.
“It was the coolest thing in my life I think, my whole family were there, my girlfriend was there and my sisters, and I was just so happy I could play there because nobody expected that West Ham would get to the final in the first year in the Women’s Super League.”
Still only a young player herself, Lehmann has worked hard to get into the position she is today and asked what advice she would give to upcoming players she said: “The advice I’d give to younger people is you always have to work very very hard.
“When other friends go out, you have to go to training and be really focused, you can’t be like a normal teenager I would say.
“My friends went out when they were 16 and I went to the game, so I never went out a lot and I was always so focused all the time.
“The last two years before I made the move to West Ham, I went out of the house at 6am in the morning and I came home at 10pm after training, I always had two training sessions a day, six in a week and then a game so that was always quite hard and I also worked 70 per cent of the time so it was a lot.
“But when you want to be professional you have to do that, because in women’s football it’s not that much money, you can’t have millions, so it’s so important that you have an education and stuff.
“Be focused and work really hard and everyone can do it.”