WSL star Alisha Lehmann believes social media can help increase the viewership of women’s football.
The Aston Villa winger has built up her own support on social media as she has more followers than some of sports biggest stars.
Lehmann has 12 million followers on Instagram which is more than tennis icon Roger Federer, boxers Tommy Fury and Jake Paul as well as Man City star Jack Grealish and F1 champion Max Verstappen.
While she gets a lot of interest for her snaps rather than her footballing skills, Lehmann has insisted that he is not distracted by it.
She told talkSPORT: “To be honest, I don’t really think about it.
“It’s not something where I wake up every day and think, oh my God, I have so many followers.
“It’s more that it’s really nice, the support and everything and it’s also a big opportunity.
“I would like to show the world that women can actually do it in football and you don’t need to just to be normal.
“You can also be a bit crazy, just be you, and use your personality to show the world who you are.”
While, it has allowed the 24-year-old to grow her own brand, she does find it frustrating that she can be criticised for calling herself a footballer, without always posting sports content.
She added: “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 play like I train every day, like everyone else, like 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.”
The Swiss international also explained that many of the women that play back in Switzerland have to have second jobs to make enough money.
But she believes that women’s football is growing and that social media can help push it forward.
Lehmann insisted: “England probably is the picture everyone should look at because I don’t think in other countries it increased that much.
“In Switzerland, for example, everyone’s still working, 90 per cent probably still work.
“I don’t think you can compare like anything between women’s and men’s football because it’s just so different how people look at us and how people look at them.
“It’s just not the same. Women’s football is always second class. I don’t think you’ll ever be first class because I think a lot of people still think that men’s football is the first priority.
“They don’t think about women’s football and I think that’s a big problem. Now social media is really helpful because people actually see, oh, we play football, we can play football.
“When they come to their first game, after they say ‘oh it’s not even that bad’ they’re surprised but people judge before they even saw the actual game.
“I don’t think this [being equal to men] will ever happen to be honest, maybe in the next 100 years but we will not be here anymore.
“I hope that in the summer when we play the World Cup it’s a big, big thing. I hope that will push women’s football more forward.
“We just need to live in the moment and appreciate what we have now and obviously grow it.”