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Melissa Lawley interview: 'As soon as I joined Liverpool I was desperate to play at Anfield'

Sophie Penney
Melissa Lawley knows the role social media plays in promoting the women's game - paul cooper

A quick scroll through Melissa Lawley's social media accounts and her playful sense of humour comes to the fore. There is a retweeted video of a man on board a boat playing fetch with a rugby ball and beluga whale. Another post she shares a young ice-skating fan performing extraordinary levels of skill on a frozen lake. 

Dotted among the amusing videos, the Liverpool midfielder posts images of her beloved dog, Toby. Her social interactions might have little to do with football, but this 25-year-old, who has won 12 caps for England two FA Cups and a Continental Cup, is becoming more aware of the need to showcase her larger-than-life personality. 

“Social media has a big impact on growing the women’s game,” Lawley told Telegraph Women's Sport. “Players are talking and socialising with the fans. It's about getting the fans intrigued with what we’re doing, keeping them updated daily on our careers and our lifestyles.

“I think it’s just about trying to get your personality across as well, because obviously it’s a professional environment but you’ve got to enjoy it and have a laugh as well.”

That's not to say that she can't be serious when she needs to, especially when it comes to football. 

Lawley is looking forward to playing at Anfield on Sunday Credit: Paul Cooper

On Sunday, Lawley, who left Manchester City this summer to join Liverpool, will play at Anfield, home to the current leaders in the Premier League, in the Merseyside derby. 

Watching avidly from the sidelines will be Lawley's teenage brother and sister. “I’d never push them to be like me but I’m always there to help and talk to them,” Lawley said. “If they want to go to the park and kick a ball around I’ll always be there. My sister enjoys going to matches on Sundays and at that age she just needs to enjoy it.”

It is after a pause she adds decisively and proudly, “They do look up to me”. 

Lawley, who came through the ranks at Aston Villa and Birmingham, knows the importance of having good role models. 

“As a player I’m just looking to help inspire the next generation and telling them that they can achieve their goals if they put their mind to it and work hard.”

Lawley reveals she was inspired by Karen Carney when she was growing up, and she had the good fortune of playing alongside at Birmingham City. Her first steps on to the pitch in an England shirt were when she came on as a sub for Carney against France in October 2017. “It was one of my dreams come true.”

Melissa with her dog, Toby Credit: Twitter

Playing at Anfield will tick off another milestone moment for Lawley. “When I first signed for Liverpool and we came to Anfield, I kept thinking to myself, I’d love to play at this ground and that’s coming true on Sunday.”

But she is keen that the number of fans matches the occasion. “I think it’s good to play at big stadiums if the crowd’s there. There’s no point playing in the big stadium when there’s about 10 fans because the atmosphere is not as good. But I do think it’s a massive statement about where the game is now.”

After leaving league runners-up City in the summer, Lawley is adjusting to life at the bottom of the table with her new club where she has scored their solitary goal in the WSL. 

You can only imagine the jovial celebrations, no doubt led by Lawley, when that elusive win is achieved.