England forward Chloe Kelly says women should never let anyone tell them they can't succeed, after Joey Barton sparked controversy with comments about female pundits working in football.
Speaking at the launch of the first ever Panini Barclays Women's Super League sticker collection at the National Football Museum, former Lionesses goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis joined Kelly to call for women to ignore Barton's 'clickbait' criticism.
Former Manchester City and Newcastle United midfielder Barton made headlines recently over a series of negative social media posts about women working in the men's game.
Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, Barton said women "shouldn't be talking with any kind of authority in the men's game", calling women's football a "different" sport and describing the decision to employ female pundits and commentators as "tokenism".
Chelsea Women's manager Emma Hayes and former Arsenal defender Alex Scott have both hit out at Barton's comments in recent days, and Kelly – the scorer of England's winning goal in the Euro 2022 final against Germany – has now joined them.
I don’t have a podcast to promote or the need to try use a platform like this to bully and belittle others— Alex Scott MBE (@AlexScott) December 16, 2023
I do have a sunday times bestseller that’s still available however, with all proceeds going straight to @RefugeCharity #staywinning pic.twitter.com/wO3QwCyQqV
"We've broken down barriers throughout our careers, every woman involved in sport, especially in football," Kelly said.
"We've broken down barriers to get where we are today, and we keep breaking down those barriers and not letting people tell us we can't. As you can see today, women can achieve great things.
"I definitely like to prove people wrong. I think every female has done just that along the way, proving people wrong.
"I think we're showing exactly what we're capable of and every woman working in football is showing that they're able to do so."
Brown-Finnis, who has worked as a pundit on men's and women's football since retiring in 2015, suggested Barton's comments were primarily intended to cause outrage, rather than representing his honest views.
"It's one voice on social media that reaches a lot of people's ears and unfortunately, that's the nature of social media," she said of Barton's posts.
"We as women in football, whether it be women's football or men's football, we hear these voices on a regular basis. I think you can choose to listen to them or you can choose to not listen to them.
"I understand that platform is for anybody to have their say. He's entitled to his view, if that is a true view, but in my opinion it's more of a clickbait exercise."