England Women World Cup squad talking points: Envious options at No 9 as Millie Bright and Lucy Bronze boost Lionesses hopes


England gives Wiegman envious options at No 9

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Who’s in and who’s out? Sky Sports News’ Anton Toloui confirms Sarina Wiegman’s England squad for this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand

England may only tend to line up with one striker under Sarina Wiegman, but they have plenty of firepower in the squad the manager has named for this summer’s World Cup.

The most eye-catching inclusion is that of Bethany England, who has not played for the Lionesses in a year but forced her way into Wiegman’s plans after joining Tottenham mid-season.

England only began playing regularly again once she left Chelsea for Spurs in January, but still managed to finish as the WSL’s third-highest scorer after hitting the ground running in north London. Twelve goals in 12 games made her case for selection impossible to ignore.

The 28-year-old has her work cut out getting into Wiegman’s starting XI, though, given the strength of the other No 9s heading to Australia and New Zealand.

Rachel Daly

Rachel Daly finished as the WSL’s top scorer – equalling Vivianne Miedema’s record of 22 goals in as many games – and has been listed as a forward in the official squad announcement.

That and her Golden Boot-winning season are a reasonable indicator that her role as a left-back during the victorious Euros campaign will not be repeated. However, the option to have Daly play there in a pinch is also a bonus for Wiegman.

Alessia Russo

Alessia Russo rounds off the collection of No 9s in the squad, with the Manchester United star coming off a campaign in which she reached double figures and was the subject of a world-record bid from Arsenal in January,

Wiegman’s selections leading up to the World Cup suggest the No 9 shirt is Russo’s to lose, but the presence of Daly and England give the manager plenty of options when pondering how to unlock defences this summer.
Joe Shread

England’s World Cup squad in full

Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Man Utd), Ellie Roebuck (Man City), Hannah Hampton (Aston Villa).

Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Barcelona), Jess Carter (Chelsea), Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Esme Morgan (Man City), Alex Greenwood (Man City), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal).

Midfielders: Keira Walsh (Barcelona), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), Ella Toone (Man Utd), Jordan Nobbs (Aston Villa), Laura Coombs (Man City), Katie Zelem (Man Utd).

Forwards: Alessia Russo (Man Utd), Rachel Daly (Aston Villa), Lauren Hemp (Man City), Chloe Kelly (Man City), Lauren James (Chelsea), Katie Robinson (Brighton), Bethany England (Tottenham).

Standby players: Maya Le Tissier (Man Utd), Jess Park (Man City), Emily Ramsey (Man Utd).

Bright and Bronze boost Lionesses World Cup hopes

Given the numerous injury absentees and concerns that have plagued England heading into this tournament, it is a huge boost to have two of their best players – Millie Bright and Lucy Bronze – in the squad.

Wiegman’s World Cup squad is far less experienced than her Euro 2022 selection, with a total of 733 caps at an average of 32 per player compared with 973 – 42 per player – among their predecessors.

Six players have fewer than 10 caps, compared with only four of last year’s contingent, while another half dozen have amassed at least 50 caps – versus nine of the Euros squad.

That is why it is so crucial that both Bronze and Bright have proven their fitness, with 50 days to go before the tournament.

Four of the five most-capped players who featured at Euro 2022 – Jill Scott, Ellen White, Demi Stokes and Nikita Parris – have retired or been overlooked this time. With 104 caps, Bronze now leads the way, 30 ahead of Alex Greenwood.

Bronze is also considered one of the best right-backs to have ever played the women’s game, while Bright has improved as a defender significantly over the last few years. The Lionesses would not have won the Euros without them.

In the absence of captain Leah Williamson too, Bright will now take up the armband and it is a role that she has long been preparing for.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Former England goalkeeper Carly Telford says Sarina Wiegman has opted for a balance of youth and experience in her World Cup squad

Having been a long-time vice captain for England and Chelsea, she has plenty of experience to fill the void and guide the fresher faces – Brighton’s 20-year-old winger Katie Robinson is the youngest player to be selected, ahead of Chelsea’s Lauren James (21).

Given the Lionesses are not at full strength in attack, forming a solid base around the likes of Bronze and Bright will be crucial to any success Down Under.
Ben Grounds

England and the WSL not just about ‘Big Four’ clubs

Spurs new signing Bethany England celebrates her goal against Aston Villa
The inclusion of the likes of Tottenham’s Bethany England reflects the increasing competitiveness of the WSL

The Lionesses team that won the Euros was filled with winners, mainly due to a reliance on the ‘Big Four’ clubs.

In the 23-player squad, only three players did not play for Chelsea, Arsenal, or the two Manchester clubs. Wiegman went for big-name players in the big games.

There is a bit more of a mix to this England squad in terms of club commitments, partly due to key injuries but also because of the competitive nature of the WSL.

England could easily start Jordan Nobbs and Daly together throughout the tournament after the pair took Villa to fifth-place and the FA Cup semi-finals.

Katie Robinson had a tough season with Brighton, but is an exciting option off the bench. As mentioned above, England’s form for Tottenham made it impossible for Wiegman to leave her out.

With Bronze, Keira Walsh and Georgia Stanway moving to Europe in the past year, women’s football is not looking like a closed shop anymore in terms of competitiveness.

More players and teams being represented is a sign that the women’s game is growing. Not just because of success, accessibility or exposure, but through overall quality too.

And having heroes from Tottenham, Aston Villa and Brighton will only go on to inspire more.
Sam Blitz

Nobbs and Zelem offer midfield experience

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

England manager Sarina Wiegman explains her squad selection decisions for this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand

There were some concerns over the midfield options available to Wiegman heading into Wednesday’s squad announcement. The influential Fran Kirby and another midfield option in Leah Williamson are both sidelined through injury.

But Wiegman has gone with two experienced options from the WSL in Nobbs and Katie Zelem, adding different dimensions to a young squad.

For Nobbs, her risk in leaving her beloved Arsenal to join Aston Villa in a bid to make the World Cup squad has paid off. The midfielder has been incredibly unlucky in the past to miss out on a number of major tournaments for England – this summer will be only her second World Cup.

And she has proven at Aston Villa that she is still a player of incredible talent, with her club manager Carla Ward telling Sky Sports News: “What Jordan does well is connect with the No 9 and get beyond and she’s done that brilliantly over the last few months or so. She will give a different type of option of what’s in the squad already.”

Zelem has suffered heartbreak at international level too, having been cut from England’s initial 28-player squad last summer, but will now feature at her first major tournament.

As captain of Man Utd, she will bring leadership both on and off the pitch, although neither player are likely to oust the likes of Stanway, Walsh and Ella Toone just yet.

However, as England proved at Euro 2022, it is not just a starting XI that wins matches – that’s why there is a squad and both Nobbs and Zelem have plenty to contribute in all areas.
Charlotte Marsh

Le Tissier unlucky to miss out

 Maya Le Tissier started for England against Norway
Maya Le Tissier has been named as a standby for England, missing out on the main 23-player squad

It was a surprise to see Maya Le Tissier not included in the 23-player squad, having had a stellar season at club level.

The Manchester United defender played in every WSL game last season, creating a centre-back partnership with Millie Turner that conceded the fewest goals in the league. Her passing abilities too are almost unrivalled, and she ranks in the top three in a number of statistical categories in this area.

She has earned two Lionesses caps in the last year and is earmarked as one of the stars of the future, both in the WSL and at international level.

With all that being said, Le Tissier could not have done more this season to be selected, and can consider herself very unlucky.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

England women’s head coach Sarina Wiegman explains her World Cup squad and admits she had to make some tough decisions but is ready now to start thinking about the tournament this summer

However, she has been named as one of three standby players, along with Emily Ramsey and Jess Park, who will travel with the squad to Australia and New Zealand.

At 21 years old, being around the squad in preparations for a major tournament will only add to Le Tissier’s limited senior international experience, and she can learn plenty from Wiegman and other players over the coming months.

But some will say that she is ready to be part of the squad now, and would be a reliable option for Wiegman. While that may not happen this summer, there appears little doubt Le Tissier is a future England starter.
Charlotte Marsh

File source

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button