Sarina Wiegman: England boss says her side in ‘very good place’ going into Euros

30 June 2022 0 By Total Football News
England gather in a huddle after beating SwitzerlandEngland go into the Euros on a six-match winning streak

England manager Sarina Wiegman says her side's journey begins next Wednesday when the Lionesses kick off the Euros against Austria.

Ten months into her tenure as England boss, Wiegman's side are unbeaten in 14 games going into the home tournament.

The latest victory, beating Switzerland 4-0 in their final warm-up match, was their sixth win in a row.

"Well we always have things to improve. I think we are in a very good place," said Wiegman.

"These are all friendlies and it's very nice to play and to learn from it. But it really starts next Wednesday."

England are full of confidence going into the Euros after a strong warm-up camp, which included a 5-1 win over European champions the Netherlands, as well as success in the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup in February.

Under Wiegman they have scored 84 times and conceded only three goals.

"We've been tested in more ways than one," said defender Millie Bright following the latest win. "We've been exposed at times and we know where we need to improve.

"That's what you need. You don't want to go into the tournament blindsided. We've had tests all round but it's only made us stronger and we've showed what we're about."

Squad depth 'is England's strength'

In all three of the warm-up games, the match has been decided by second-half substitutes who have transformed the game.

"We say all the time that we have a team of 23 and all can play," said Wiegman. "And they all can impact the game. We saw it again today, but we've seen it in the two earlier games too."

Former England international Eni Aluko, speaking on ITV4, said the manager was creating good competition for places in the 23-player squad.

"It looks like every player is given a chance so they know they can come into the game and affect it.

"It still seems like there are players fighting for their places. The depth of the team is going to be our strength. So whoever plays, it's fine, because the players who replace them are going to lift it to another level."

Ellen White, Alessia Russo and Bethany England have all performed as a striker under Wiegman, but only one will be able to start in the manager's favoured formation.

Russo and England both found the net against Switzerland, with record scorer White an unused substitute after returning from Covid.

"All three are a little different and all three can bring some things," said Wiegman. "This is going to give us some more thoughts for next Wednesday."

'Williamson should play in defence'

England captain Leah Williamson and manager Sarina WiegmanLeah Williamson has replaced Steph Houghton as captain under Sarina Wiegman

Despite primarily being used as a defender for Arsenal, captain Leah Williamson has mainly featured in midfield as part of a double-pivot alongside Keira Walsh under Wiegman.

Before this match, Wiegman suggested Williamson had felt a little uncomfortable playing further forward and against Switzerland she dropped back into the defence because of the absence of Lucy Bronze, with Alex Greenwood moving to left-back.

"I think that Leah can also play midfield and she can play in the back," said Wiegman. "That's what she showed tonight."

However, Chelsea manager Emma Hayes believes Williamson showed against Switzerland that her best position was in defence.

"Sarina won't like me saying this but I think she's learnt that Leah Williamson should play at the back," said Hayes.

"That's the main thing. That's got nothing to do with Alex Greenwood. You could play those two side by side and still have the quality. It's reaffirmed that.

"In midfield [Walsh] is so used to playing as a single pivot at Man City. Sometimes with her and Williamson [in midfield] they're trying to do the same thing."

With less than a week to go until the start of the Euros, Wiegman was keeping her cards close to her chest when it comes to her starting XI to face Austria.

She added: "We have tried everything that we wanted to or that we were able to, and from here we review, have some more thoughts about it and then make decisions for next Wednesday."

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