'It gives me strength' - Aston Villa Women's Alisha Lehmann opens up on social media abuse
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Aston Villa Women's forward Alisha Lehmann has admitted that she doesn't allow criticism online to affect her despite receiving abuse on social media on a regular basis.
The 24-year-old has four goals and two assists in 20 appearances for Villa this season but is arguably best known for her social media presence with the Swiss boasting over 13million followers on Instagram as well as 7.8million on TikTok and 173,000 on Twitter, making her the world's most-followed women's footballer.
Lehmann's posts online vary between football-related and lifestyle. However, the former West Ham United player has admitted in the past that she would rather be known for her football than being a social media influencer.
In an interview with talkSPORT, the Swiss 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 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."
However, her significant online presence has made the Villa forward a target for online abuse. The 24-year-old has insisted though that this no longer affects her.
Speaking to Football Daily, Lehmann opened up on online abuse, saying: "Obviously, it's not a nice thing to say to us players because we train every day so hard. But, for myself, it gives me strength because I feel like one hundred per cent you want my life. So why would you say that? It's probably jealousy or people don't want to see it or they're just bored in life and have to say something.
"Behind the computer, it's always easy to say stuff because I don't think someone would stand in front of us in women's football and say, 'you're so bad, women can't play'."
The 24-year-old added that she only feels affected by abuse when her family see it, explaining: "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 gives me strength, 100% you want my life."— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 12, 2023
Aston Villa player Alisha Lehmann takes criticism on social media in her stride 💪 pic.twitter.com/LZQUH4TkSZ
"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.
"I say, 'look, it doesn't affect me'. I'm strong with what I'm doing and if people are not happy with it then it's there own choice. It doesn't affect me."