I am absolutely loving football being back, but it’s a real shame that the women’s domestic game will not make the same return. I’m not criticising, as governing bodies are working incredibly hard to bring sport back in a safe way, it’s just unfortunate that women’s football will, for now at least, not continue to build on the momentum of last year.

I’ve been thinking about how female stars can continue to grow their profile and engage younger fans whilst there is no live action. I believe there is an opportunity to help them build their personal brand by using their social channels to engage in the other topics they are passionate about like music, social issues, fashion, the environment etc… just look what Marcus Rashford achieved!

Lockdown has encouraged many sportsmen and women around the world to do just this. With no action on the pitch, they’ve used their social media accounts to show their personality and discuss other topics, which in return can broaden their fan base and help develop their own personal brand, particularly amongst a younger audience. Hector Bellerin’s Twitter feed is a great example of this with his mix of football, social issues, photography and fashion.

Gone are the days of when footballers are only expected to talk about training and performances. Younger consumers have come to expect the companies they buy from to have opinions and personality, and the same applies to the sports stars they follow.

With the universal ambition of growing women’s football, if our female stars can use this summer to adopt this approach, they will make themselves more relatable through discussions on other shared passions, but importantly, introduce more girls to football who otherwise may not have engaged.

This is not going to replace live football on the TV, but if it helps grow their profile, then it makes sense for female footballers to get ahead of the trend of developing their personal brand.

Thinking by Becky Hargreaves.