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Sites & Languages

Tue 05 May 2020, 15:09|Tottenham Hotspur

In an exclusive catch-up with full-back Ashleigh Neville, we find out what she’s being doing during lockdown, how she celebrated her 27th birthday and we reminisce on some amazing promotion memories from this time last year.

What’s a typical day at home been like for you during lockdown?

Ashleigh: “I think it’s really important to have a routine, I have always lived by that. We’ve got a park near us, so we’ll go for walks there, there’s a lot around for us to enjoy at home. I have been keeping active with my home fitness programme and there’s a place nearby with football pitches and goal posts where I’ll do my sessions. My partner and I look after the little one for four days a week, so when the weather has been nice, we’ve had the swimming pool out, had some water fights and enjoyed the time in the garden. We built him a robot out of cardboard boxes which he loved, and we’ve just been trying to keep him busy as he’s usually up from around 7am each morning, sometimes even at 6am. I recently got engaged so me and my partner have been doing some planning for our wedding next year.”

How are you finding your fitness programme?

Ashleigh: “It’s been very challenging, I must admit. It’s different doing it on your own, compared to being in a group, you have to motivate yourself. That’s why it’s been great for us having virtual training sessions together. Being in a group and around the girls and coaches makes a big difference. Last week, I joined in with the core session for the first time and it helped me massively. I didn’t need motivating. I plan to join in the mobility session, and the virtual coffee club which takes place on Wednesdays – it is a great way for everyone to catch up. I know the girls have been playing FIFA together too and Jenna (Schillaci) has been doing some DJ sessions – it’s important to stay connected and keep upbeat during these uncertain times.”

Away from maintaining fitness, how are the wedding plans coming along?

Ashleigh: “It’s very exciting and it’s something amazing to look forward to. We’re getting married next year in June. The venue, food, photographer and centrepieces are booked. If we weren’t in lockdown, we would have been looking at dresses, but apart from that, we pretty much have most of it sorted. I can’t wait!”

It was your birthday last week. How did you celebrate this year in lockdown compared to previous years?

Ashleigh: “Last year, I was working at the school during the day and in the evening, I went for a family meal. It was lovely and I always enjoy spending time with my loved ones and that obviously wasn’t something we’re able to do this year sadly. But we made the most of it at home and took part in the virtual Proud Lilywhites’ Spurs Quiz Night which we thoroughly enjoyed. It was a brilliant turn-out and everyone sang happy birthday to me too, which was lovely. I also received a video message from all the players and staff and got loads of nice messages from the fans which really made my day.”

What are you missing most about football?

Ashleigh: “I’m just missing playing loads, being with the team and seeing the fans.”

This time last year, we had sealed promoted to the WSL. Have you had time during lockdown to reflect on any of those amazing memories from last season?

Ashleigh: “Seeing some of the flashbacks on social media has definitely made me look back on how far we’ve come. Even looking at the Charlton game, being 2-0 down, who knows where we would be now if we didn’t come back and win that game 3-2? When the flashback of the Charlton game from last season came up on Twitter, we had a bit of banter in the group chat because Kit Graham scored a great goal against us that day and I said to her: ‘I am sure when the ball hit the back of the net, you thought it was game over and look what happened!’ I’ll never forget our draw against Aston Villa last season that secured promotion. That night had everything – a superb goal from Jess (Naz), so many chances and late drama. It’s nice to look back on those memories and smile. It makes me feel so lucky to be part of such a special team, a team that have achieved so much and are continuing to grow, it really does make me proud.”

Have you been watching anything interesting on TV, any recommendations?

Ashleigh: “I’ve been watching Tiger King on Netflix and Our Girl on BBC, I’d recommend both. I can’t get enough of Coronation Street. I love Mondays and Wednesdays simply because of Corry. I am a bit gutted that it’s only on twice a week now.”

Anything else keeping you entertained?

Ashleigh: “On Thursdays, we do Clap for our Carers, then do the Virtual Pub Quiz on YouTube straight after that. We’ll go onto Zoom with my sister and aunt, it’s a good laugh and it’s something nice to look forward to each week.”

What’s been the biggest struggle for you during lockdown?

Ashleigh: “Away from not playing football, not being able to see my family has been really tough. I moved at the beginning on the season to be closer to London so now I feel so far away from them and I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without seeing them. Thank God for FaceTime!”

Has being in lockdown taught you anything?

Ashleigh: “It’s made me realise that I need to make more effort with the people I am close to. It’s easy sometimes to get wrapped up in your own life but even if it’s a quick call or text, it goes a long way.”

When we come out of lockdown, what’s the first thing you want to do?

Ashleigh: “There are two things and I don’t know which is more important. Either go and see my family or go to get my hair cut. I think getting my hair cut might just edge it! I normally get it cut every two weeks so you can imagine what it’s like now after six or so weeks.”