England striker Danielle Carter has been backed to make a major impact off the field as the crisis-hit Football Association targets cultural change.
On Friday, Carter will hope to feature for the Lionesses in their World Cup qualifier against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Walsall.
She could also play a part in Tuesday’s clash with Kazakhstan in Colchester, as England bid to build on September’s 6-0 win over Russia in the race to reach France 2019.
But Carter, who has scored six goals in three previous England appearances, can also make her influence felt away from the pitch after being appointed to the FA council.
The 24-year-old, who is black, joins at a time when the FA is facing demands to ensure there is improved diversity throughout the game.
“She’s female, she’s black and she’s a current player, so to have her on there, that wouldn’t have been done years ago,” said former England star Rachel Yankey.
“We’re seeing improvements. We need to see more of it happening, but there are changes and it’s positive. She’s going to come from a different angle and it can only help football.”
Yankey, who is mixed race, won 129 caps for England from 1997 to 2013 and played with Carter at Arsenal for six years.
She sees Carter’s appointment by the FA to its self-styled parliament as a step in the right direction.
It came last month, as FA chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn resisted calls to resign over their handling of the Mark Sampson saga, particularly the racism complaints from England international Eni Aluko.
The Lionesses are moving on from the Sampson era, with Mo Marley in interim charge after the former manager was sacked over allegations unrelated to those raised by Aluko.
Yankey thinks football will have its house in order once organisations such as the FA become truly representative.
“Football isn’t just about the people that play it and coach it,” Yankey told Press Association Sport. “There are so many different strands and we need diversity through the whole of it.
“Eni’s studied to be a lawyer, but I think there’s many players that could give a lot of insight and help the FA to make it a more diverse place and a better place for women and other people to play football.”
Yankey is supporting the Fairer Game campaign, backed by Betfair, which has funded 50 women to take the UEFA B coaching qualification.
The 38-year-old wants to see more coaches from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in football.
“I still think there’s a lot of change to come,” Yankey said. “Ultimately coaching is about educating and working and managing people.
“If you’ve got the same coaches from the same backgrounds and the same upbringing then surely we can’t cover every football player.”
:: To follow the women on their Fairer Game journey please visit FairerGame.com