Sarina Wiegman has admitted to having some ‘tough talks’ this week after deciding to drop Euro 2022 winners Beth England, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Nikita Parris from her squad to face USA next month to face the World Champion and the Czech Republic.
“There were tough talks and tough decisions,” said the England coach. “If you look at the team, it’s very competitive in the different positions. We look for quality, talent, fitness and minutes played with your team and then win the competition with those you are in the same position with.
“I’ve had conversations with all the players who were in the squad before, but not anymore. I gave them feedback and now they have to work and try to get back up there. Of course we will continue to follow them because they are very good players. We don’t just follow 22 or 24 players, we follow a large group of players and pick the best. With 10 months to go before the World Cup starts, it’s also an opportunity to bring some young players over to see where they stand.”
Chelsea striker England, Arsenal centre-back Wubben-Moy and Manchester United striker Parris have all yet to start for their clubs this season. Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs is also absent after being called up to the squad for September camp. Wiegman said she’s spoken to former England captain Steph Houghton and while she doesn’t feel ready to be called up to that camp, she insisted the “door is open” for the 34-year-old.
The Lionesses have resumed Fran Kirby and Chloe Kelly, who missed camp in September through injury, while West Ham defender Lucy Parker and Manchester City’s Jess Park, most recently on loan at Everton, are making their first appearances are nominated for seniors notably with a goal in Sunday’s Merseyside Derby win at Anfield. City defender Esme Morgan, who is yet to make her debut for England, has returned to the squad after a lengthy injury lay-out.
“There are talented players knocking on the door,” Wiegman said. “We’ve been following Jess Park for a while. I think she can play up front but also in midfield. She’s a little more indoors now. It’s exciting for them. Lucy Parker is very athletic. She had some injuries but had good preparation and good games.”
Asked if centre-back Maya Le Tissier, who scored twice on her United debut, warrants a first senior call-up, Wiegman said: “Maya played very well, it’s really nice that she only got her main goal The task is not to score goals, but to defend, to build up. She did very well, but the other players did a little bit more. We’re watching her, she’s in U23, there are a lot of very good players in U23 who are ready to come in and at the moment those are the players we’ve picked.
England host the USA at a packed Wembley Stadium on October 7 before traveling to Brighton, where they beat Norway and Spain in the summer en route to the European Championships, before playing the Czech Republic four days later.
“Playing against World No. 1 USA is such a big event and another benchmark of where we are,” Wiegman said. “After that, we have 10 months to find out what we can do better and what we did well.”
The manager also praised her side’s bravery, saying when asked if England had overcome the fear factor of the Americans: “If so [fear] Hopefully. We showed courage and really played with it to win and avoid mistakes. We want to do that all the time.
“Germany and Spain were also big opponents so we’ll do it the same way – play to win, accept mistakes and hopefully show our style on the pitch.”
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