SheBelieves Cup 2020: Squad
(usual England positions)
GK: Ellie Roebuck, Carly Telford, Sandy MacIver
DF: Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes, Alex Greenwood, Leah Williamson, Abbie McManus, Rachel Daly, Millie Bright, Grace Fisk
MF: Keira Walsh, Jill Scott, Jordan Nobbs, Lucy Staniforth,
FW: Ellen White, Lauren Hemp, Beth England, Toni Duggan, Nikita Parris, Chloe Kelly, Georgia Stanway
With the Lionesses first game of the SheBelieves Cup taking place in just over two weeks, the squad announcement could not come quick enough for fans.
A fair few changes from last year's World Cup squad, it will remain to be seen as to whether the Lionesses will gel as cohesively as they did in the summer. However, with all of these players performing considerably well at their respective clubs, Phil Neville has certainly picked a mighty line-up.
With the recent injury of Beth Mead, as well as the longer term recoveries of Karen Bardsley and Fran Kirby, Neville's squad ultimately had space for less experienced players to have a crack on the main stage. Considering their outstanding seasons so far, it is encouraging to see the likes of Ellie Roebuck, Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly and Beth England in the squad. Noting their current form, it can be argued that all four of these players should be a part of at least one starting eleven.
Sandy MacIver and Grace Fisk have received their senior call ups and it may be favourable to have them play a decent amount of minutes. These youthful players, alongside the slightly more practised Keira Walsh, Georgia Stanway and Leah Williamson, are, after all, the makings of the next pride of Lionesses. This could prove to be the perfect opportunity to exercise a future team.
However, it is always satisfying to see the old faithfuls in the squad. The national side should have a certain amount of stability and reliability at its heart. Sharing a pitch with the experience of players such as Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Lucy Bronze and Ellen White, will give the youngsters the much needed support that they will seek. Blending experience with youth is sure to set the team up nicely.
After missing out on the World Cup it is pleasing to have the always valuable Jordan Nobbs back in the middle. The Lionesses must work to utilise her as Arsenal do. However, looking at usual positions for England, having only four 'typical' midfielders looks a little concerning. Nevertheless, this does mean that there is wiggle room for a few formational options, and the opportunity for players to move into perhaps slightly more comfortable positions. We could possibly see the ever versatile Rachel Daly move up field, Williamson positioned closer to the middle, or Hemp dropping back slightly on the wing.
Looking at the games themselves, it must be noted that although the USA look to be the biggest threat, they should not be deemed as the only one. Both Spain and Japan will be challenging games. The Lionesses will approach them with the utmost respect, careful to remember that the games won on paper are not always the games won in reality.
Neville's conscientious mix of youth and experience looks to set the Lionesses in good stead for not only the SheBelieves Cup, but for future international tournaments. With plenty to look forward to, it is time to avenge that World Cup Semi-Final and bring this trophy home once again.
Let's go ladies, WeBelieve in you.