Chelsea Ladies captain Katie Chapman has waded into the furore surrounding Mark Sampson by suggesting she has been ignored by the England Women boss since telling him she was getting a divorce.
Sampson finds himself under the microscope following allegations of bullying, discrimination and racism towards striker Eni Aluko although he was cleared by an internal Football Association review of the claims and by an independent investigation.
He insisted earlier this week that his “conscience is clear” but Chapman, Aluko’s team-mate at Chelsea, believes “part” of the reason she has not been selected in nearly 18 months is due to juggling her career with childcare responsibilities.
The 35-year-old midfielder, a mother to three boys aged between four and 14, earned the last of her 94 caps in April last year.
“I had the conversation with Mark regarding my divorce,” Chapman told several national newspapers. “He was very supportive. He said ‘take a little time to manage that situation and get yourself sorted’. Off the back of that conversation I haven’t been picked. I haven’t been selected since.
“I’ve gone through a divorce. I think that might’ve played a little part, going through that, managing with the children and stuff. It shouldn’t cause a problem but I think it potentially could be part of the reason.
“I’m not bitter but I feel a little hard done by. I’ve not retired from England. I’m close to 100 caps and I would like to get to that milestone.”
Chapman says she has not approached Sampson for his reasoning in continuing to overlook her for England selection, but added: “Everything Mark set for me to do I’ve managed to meet. So I’ve struggled with that, but instead of driving myself mad I’ve focused on my Chelsea career.
“People make personal choices. Mark’s choice was… I don’t actually know. I can’t speak for him. He might say something completely different. Until I have that conversation with him I can’t say anything as I don’t know the answer and it would be wrong of me to make that assumption.”
Chelsea declined to comment on Chapman’s comments when contacted by Press Association Sport on Friday night.