Lucy Bronze, Kiera Walsh and Lauren Hemp are among the Lionesses stars to watch, but England boss Sarina Wiegman is spoilt for choice after understudies put on a show in rout of Switzerland
- Star striker Ellen White has missed the last two warm-up fixtures due to Covid
- Alessia Russo and Beth England both scored in the 4-0 victory over Switzerland
- It gave the pair a confidence boost and Sarina Wiegman a selection headache
England’s understudies believe they can play a leading role in this summer’s Euros after putting on a show for boss Sarina Wiegman in a 4-0 thrashing of Switzerland.
In the absence of star striker Ellen White, Alessia Russo and Beth England were both among the scorers as the Lionesses ended their tournament build-up with a comfortable victory.
White, who is England’s all-time record goal scorer, did not feature in the final two warm-up fixtures against the Swiss and the Netherlands after testing positive for Covid-19.
England forward Alessia Russo scored with a header in the 4-0 victory over Switzerland
White was fit enough to be on the bench in Zurich on Thursday, though, and should be available for the Euros opener against Austria at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
But against Switzerland her deputies showed they are ready to step into her role should she suffer a set-back.
White is now 33 and is not likely to play every game of the tournament. Russo, 23, and England, 28, are both vying to be first reserve and a goal for each against the Swiss has given both a confidence boost and Wiegman a selection headache.
Lionesses striker Beth England capped an impressive display with a goal against Switzerland
FIVE ENGLAND PLAYERS TO WATCH
LAUREN HEMP — AGE: 21, CAPS: 22, CLUB: MANCHESTER CITY, POSITION: LEFT WING
Hemp was Manchester City’s best player last season and her performances earned her a record fourth PFA Young Player of the Year award. She has pace to burn, frightens full-backs with her dribbling and is one of the most exciting players at this tournament. She will be key for England.
BETH MEAD — AGE: 27, CAPS: 39, ARSENAL, RIGHT WING
On the opposite flank to Hemp is Arsenal’s Mead, who broke the record for most England goals in one season with her 14th of the campaign against Holland. Mead has a trick or two up her sleeve and is capable of producing match-winning moments.
LEAH WILLIAMSON — AGE: 25, CAPS: 31, ARSENAL, CENTRE MIDFIELD/ CENTRE BACK
All eyes will be on England’s new captain. Williamson plays as a centre-back for Arsenal but has often been used in midfield by Sarina Wiegman. It is unclear where she will start against Austria but she is thought to favour playing in the back-line.
KEIRA WALSH — AGE: 25, CAPS: 42, MANCHESTER CITY, MIDFIELD
The glue that holds England’s midfield together, Walsh (right) is an integral part of Wiegman’s team. She is the player who links defence to attack, and the creative spark in the middle of the park. If Walsh plays well, so do England.
LUCY BRONZE — AGE: 30, CAPS: 90, BARCELONA, RIGHT BACK
One of the biggest names in the tournament and has always performed well for England. Her experience and winning mentality will be key this summer and she can offer another attacking threat down the right.
‘It has been tough and been hard work but that’s what you want,’ Russo said. ‘You come here with the best players and the best staff around you.
‘I’ve just got to keep working hard, keep training hard, the level here is so high. We have so many different options in the front line. It’s great to be a part of it.’
Russo was the starting forward on Thursday, but England was lively when she came off the bench to make an impact, scoring with a header and coming close to a second.
‘We all know it’s not just an 11 that’s out there, it’s an entire 23, and the staff,’ England said.
‘Everyone is here to build each other up and the competition is tough. It’s not an easy ride for anyone, nothing is guaranteed.
‘If you get your opportunity, you’ve got to take it. Especially from the bench the girls have been taking their opportunity which is probably giving Sarina a good headache. We just want to keep performing well and do what we can.’
The Lionesses won all three of their warm-up matches in the second halves — and Wiegman agreed her squad depth could be a crucial factor.
‘We’ve seen in a couple of games that our depth in the team is really good,’ Wiegman said.
‘What I also like is that they’re ready to go. Everyone wants to play, everyone wants to be part of it and everyone wants to have a contribution for this team.
‘That says something about the quality of this team.’