England’s 5-0 victory over Northern Ireland was likely their last game before the squad was announced for Euro 2022. Our England journalist Anton Toloui assesses who will definitely be in the final 23 and who will desperately battling to be in coaching at Old Trafford for the big kick-off…
Sarina Wiegman has already warned us not to expect too many surprises when she names her team for this summer’s tournament.
That being said, the Dutch coach has centered most of his previous squads around a core of 26 players, so there will be heartbreak for some.
Let’s go post by post to analyze the decisions Wiegman needs to make ahead of the June deadline for the team….
This one is already sorted.
Wiegman has confirmed Mary Earps is England’s No. 1 for the tournament, ending a rollercoaster ride for the Manchester United goalkeeper who spent two years out of the England setup before the new head coach took over .
Hannah Hampton has started two of England’s last four games and Ellie Roebuck has gone from first to third choice for her country after injury ruled out half of her season.
It can be said that England have only two full-backs in the squad, Lucy Bronze and Demi Stokes.
There is no obvious cover at left back, with Jess Carter playing in the position against Northern Ireland and Rachel Daly, a Houston Dash striker capable of playing on both flanks.
Niamh Charles, an unused substitute at Belfast, is hoping to impress in Chelsea’s final games this season to send a message to her national team boss.
Steph Houghton hasn’t given up on qualifying for Euro 2022 but it looks increasingly unlikely that she will recover from her Achilles injury in time.
New vice-captain Mille Bright and Alex Greenwood will anchor the England defense instead and Jess Carter’s form and versatility means she is likely to make the cut.
The big question is whether England pick four centre-backs or pick the three above and use new captain Leah Williamson in midfield, a position she regularly fills for Arsenal.
If Wiegman opts for four centre-backs, then her club team-mate Lotte Wubben-Moy, who has missed the last two international breaks through injury, could be a very lucky person.
This is where one or even two of England’s most experienced players could fall short.
Wiegman spoke positively about the “double pivot” in midfield when Williamson and Kiera Walsh play together. Expect to see that when England take on teams they are not expected to beat comfortably.
Four goals in the last two games show Georgia Stanway’s crucial role in the team, but it means three players face an anxious few weeks.
Jill Scott, a 156-cap veteran, as well as Jordan Nobbs, who played 69 times for England, and relative newcomer Katie Zelem have all been squad players under Wiegman, but there’s a chance that only one is selected.
If England opt for three centre-backs and Williamson, that could free up space for two of Scott, Nobbs and Zelem to choose from.
Attacking midfielders and wingers
There may not be any surprises in the players selected as chief designers, but Wiegman’s biggest task is to figure out which of these talented players fit into his best XI.
Fran Kirby will certainly be part of the team when she returns to full fitness, but does Ella Toone’s increased importance to the team mean Kirby could end up being used as a winger or even on the bench?
Lauren Hemp is set for a huge tournament, Beth Mead’s goals could be crucial for England and Nikita Parris’ place looks secure despite only playing five Women’s Super League games for Arsenal this season.
Wiegman’s loyalty to the players she used in World Cup qualifying and the Arnold Clark Cup means Chloe Kelly, who is back after almost a year out with an ACL injury, is likely to miss.
Ellen White is clearly the starting striker as she reveals Wayne Rooney’s England goalscoring record.
Bethany England is an accomplished substitute with a good domestic goalscoring record, while Alessia Russo’s Manchester United form and ability to play wide means she will complement England’s exciting attacking options.