Sarina Wiegman: England are in a really good place ahead of the EUROs
Sarina Wiegman believes England are ‘in a really good place’ after naming her squad for this summer’s home UEFA Women’s EUROs.
The Lionesses’ head coach selected a provisional 28-player squad in mid-May and on Wednesday afternoon that was reduced by five players to the limit of 23 allowed for the tournament – with Niamh Charles, Steph Houghton, Sandy MacIver, Lucy Staniforth and Katie Zelem the players to miss out.
Jill Scott, who is second in England’s list of most-capped players, has recovered from her knee injury to be included for what will be her fourth EUROs.
Fellow centurion Ellen White and former world player of the year Lucy Bronze will also provide valuable experience, with another four players boasting more than 50 appearances for their country and several others, including vice-captain Millie Bright and Rachel Daly, closing in on the mark.
There are also nine Lionesses who are yet to play in a major tournament for England’s senior team: Jess Carter, Bethany England, Hannah Hampton, Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly, Ellie Roebuck, Alessia Russo, Ella Toone and Lotte Wubben-Moy.
Meet the squad...
Watch England's UEFA EURO 2020 squad announcement video...
Speaking at her squad announcement press conference from St. George’s Park on Wednesday night, Wiegman said: “I think the balance of the squad is good. You need some experienced players who can share [their experience] but it is also about quality. We picked a team with lots of quality, with experience but also some inexperienced players. Also, if we need to change things in the game, then we have opportunities to do so. I think we are in a good place.”
Wiegman became England’s head coach in September 2021 and has won nine of her 11 games in charge, drawing the other two against Olympic champions Canada and high-flying Spain on the Lionesses’ way to winning the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup in February.
Next up for England is a match against Belgium at Molineux in Wolverhampton, before they face Wiegman’s former side Netherlands at Elland Road on Friday 24 June, in their final home match ahead of the EUROs.
The players will then depart for a training camp in Switzerland on Monday 27 June, which will include a warm-up fixture with their hosts in Zurich on Thursday 30 June.
The home EUROs will kick off at Old Trafford on Wednesday 6 July against Austria, with group games against Norway on Monday 11 July in Brighton and a trip to Southampton on Friday 15 July to face Northern Ireland.
so unbelievably chuffed to be part of this @lionesses squad for a HOME EUROS. what a dream, heads in the clouds. big summa ahead.. ✨🌤— Lotte (@lottewubbenmoy) June 15, 2022
ps. school playground trades are off, no chance I’m swapping any of these stickers! this team + staff❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/XaVu123Cpy
Wiegman and their players are hoping they will be able to work their way to the UEFA EUROs Final on Sunday 31 July at Wembley Stadium connected by EE.
On England’s preparations, the head coach said: “What we want to do with the technical staff is develop our style of play, in possession, out of possession and in transition moments.
“What we wanted to do, we have done so far, so we have a couple of camps and some games to go and we have some things we really want to do before we start on July 6, so we are in a really good place.”
A lot of the questions in the press conference circled around England legend Houghton not making the squad.
The 34-year-old was included in Wiegman’s first squad in September 2021 but injury has meant the Manchester City star was limited to four league appearances this season.
Houghton was included in the provisional 28-player squad but Wiegman believes ‘she is just not ready to compete’ because of ‘running out of time’ in the bid to prove her fitness.
Wiegman said: “It was a really hard decision, but it was hard for every player that we had to disappoint.
“Of course, Steph was such a big player, who had such an impact on the English game, and she did everything. But other players did everything too and it is really hard [to leave the players out].”
Scott missed the end of the Barclays Women’s Super League season due to a knee injury but Wiegman confirmed ‘she is in a good place now, she is training all the time and she is ready to compete’.
23 players ready to represent on home soil this summer 👊 pic.twitter.com/rjQbKdb5y5— Lionesses (@Lionesses) June 15, 2022
It was similar when asked about Fran Kirby, who has not played a competitive match for club or country since February due to a fatigue-related illness.
She said: “Fran is doing well, she has been in training for a while, she has been in camp with us, and she has been in training, playing in the training games and she is ready to compete [against Belgium] tomorrow.”
Out of all 23 players in the EUROs squad, the only one yet to feature in a match for Wiegman is Chloe Kelly.
The dynamic winger was injured for much of the 2021-22 season but impressed for Manchester City upon her return.
And Wiegman said: “She has been building up with the club, has done well and she is growing and growing, getting used to our style of play, which is not really a lot different than it is at Manchester City. We are excited and we have three friendly games where hopefully we can see a little more.”
Tickets are still available for the fixtures at Molineux on Thursday night and at Elland Road on Friday 24 June. Visit www.thefa.com/tickets for more information.