It is certainly an exciting time to be part of women’s football. The game is more than on the rise and this 2019 edition of the World Cup is set to be the biggest and the best yet.
England’s Lionesses made it to the World Cup semi-finals last time out in Canada but fell short to Japan, and the Lionesses won the third-place play-off in the end. This time out though, there is no reason that one of the tournament favourites can go all the way and bring football home.
With the Scotland game rapidly approaching, here is a preview on Manchester City’s Lionesses who will be looking to go all the way in France…
Karen Bardsley looks set to start between the sticks for Phil Neville’s side. The experienced 34-year-old is going into her third World Cup and will need her remarkable shot-stopping qualities to be on top form throughout the tournament. Bardsley has won every domestic honour with City.
Ellie Roebuck has interchanged with Bardsley as City’s number one throughout the Women’s Super League season. Roebuck, who has been with the Blues for three years, is not part of the playing squad but will travel with the team as a non-playing member for the experience.
Steph Houghton is not only Captain Fantastic of City, but also England. Like Bardsley, Houghton has been with City ever since their arrival in the WSL and has been ever-present in the success of the side. Her leadership skills, reading of the game, defensive and technical qualities will be vastly useful in France as she is sure to be a mainstay of the side.
Demi Stokes is not nailed on to start in France. The 27-year-old is competing with Manchester United’s Alex Greenwood for the left-back role. She will have a fitness test ahead of the game and could start if Neville opts for her, but it is very much a guessing game. Stokes has a remarkable turn of pace and is a real attacking threat on the overlap as well as being solid at the back.
Keira Walsh has really developed in a City shirt and for the Lionesses of late. Deployed as a holding midfielder, Walsh has superb technical quality which allows her to aid the build-up from deep and be very comfortable in possession. At just 22, the Rochdale-born midfielder has already captained her national team and is sure to be a key part of City’s and the Lionesses set up for years to come.
Jill Scott looks set to partner Walsh in midfield if Neville opts for a 4-2-3-1 system. Her tireless work-rate and ability to arrive in the box at the right time for a scoring chance will really come in handy this summer. Scott has been involved in the England senior set-up for nearly 13 years and has been with City since joining the WSL.
Georgia Stanway is the youngest member of Neville’s squad and her performances for City last season certainly warranted the call-up. The 20-year-old finished as joint fourth top-scorer in the WSL last season netting 11 times and provided three assists too. Such form meant she earned the PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year. Stanway may not be a starter in France, but she can certainly make an impact off the bench, which is likely to come from the attacking midfield role.
Ellen White is one of Cushing’s summer signings, arriving from Birmingham City. She will look to replace the striking void at City left by Nikita Parris’ move to Lyon. The 2018 Vauxhall England Women’s Player of the Year will be crucial for both team and country in the coming years. White looks set to lead the line in France as the sole striker and her clinical nature in front of goal could see her net a handful of goals in the tournament.
Former City players Lucy Bronze, Abbie McManus, Toni Duggan and Parris are also in the side. The non-English players involved on behalf of City are Caroline Weir and Janine Beckie. Weir will be an obvious attacking threat that England must contain if they are to overcome Scotland later. Beckie will also be an important figure for Canada.
We wish the Lionesses and City’s other players from differing nations the best of luck in France and hope that England can bring it home.
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