With the World Cup less than a week away, let’s take a deep look at the 23 players selected by Phil Neville and the squad’s strengths and weaknesses.

The squad

Goalkeepers

TAMPA, FLORIDA - MARCH 05:  Jodie Taylor and Carly Telford of England celebrate victory after the 2019 SheBelieves Cup  match between England and Japan at Raymond James Stadium on March 05, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA – MARCH 05: Jodie Taylor and Carly Telford of England celebrate victory after the 2019 SheBelieves Cup match between England and Japan at Raymond James Stadium on March 05, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

13 Carly Telford. I am expecting her to be the number one for the tournament. Carly is an athletic keeper with excellent kicking ability. Her relative lack of game time is not really a problem for selection considering the other keepers had the same difficulties this season.

1 Karen Bardsley will be probably the number two keeper due to her experience and lack of game time for Mary Earps in my opinion. Tournament experience is her main asset alongside her excellent shot-stopping ability.

21 Mary Earps. I expect her to be the number three keeper, although I would rank her close to being the number one. Unfortunately, she did not get as much playing time as she should have with Wolfsburg. Another athletic and explosive goalkeeper.

Right-backs

BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Lucy Bronze of England speaks to media ahead of a training session at St Georges Park on May 23, 2019 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND – MAY 23: Lucy Bronze of England speaks to media ahead of a training session at St Georges Park on May 23, 2019 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

2 Lucy Bronze is world class, and there’s not much more to say besides the fact that Phill Neville will use her in midfield to fill the hole left by Jordan Nobbs’ injury. Quite an unusual choice by the England manager, but surely driven by her ability to runs forward.

17 Rachel Daly, the versatile striker, will be used during the tournament when Lucy Bronze is not available, rested or used in central midfield. Rachel has been used as a defender through the England youth teams and, even if she plays her club football up front, is still seen as a defender for England.

Left-backs

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Demi Stokes of Manchester City  during the WSL match between Arsenal Women and Manchester City at Meadow Park on May 11, 2019 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND – MAY 11: Demi Stokes of Manchester City during the WSL match between Arsenal Women and Manchester City at Meadow Park on May 11, 2019 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

12 Demi Stokes, the City defender, should be the number one choice after missing out on the 2015 tournament for no real reason under Mark Sampson. An attacking left-back with speed.

3 Alex Greenwood, the United captain, played the whole season in the second tier as a professional player. Extremely reliable, a great technical left-foot and a threat on set pieces.

Centre-backs

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JUNE 01: Steph Houghton of England Women waves to the crowd after the International Friendly between England Women and New Zealand Women at Amex Stadium on June 01, 2019 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND – JUNE 01: Steph Houghton of England Women waves to the crowd after the International Friendly between England Women and New Zealand Women at Amex Stadium on June 01, 2019 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

5 Stephanie Houghton the England captain. She is the first choice on the teamsheet. Houghton had a tough season due to her husband’s health problem but she is an experienced leader on and off the pitch.

6 Millie Bright is a strong and powerful centre-back. Typically very physical and an aerial threat, every team needs one of these old-school English defenders.

14 Leah Williamson had an excellent club season, winning the title, and was consistent throughout. Not sure if she will be the third or fourth choice centre back.

15 Abbie McManus, the United centre-back, has been a regular at City for many years. She can play at full-back or centre-back. She is kind of error-prone at times but has been a regular for Phill Neville.

Defensive midfielders

SWINDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 09: Gemma Bonner, Millie Bright and Kiera Walsh of England celebrate victory during the International Friendly between England Women and Spain Women at the County Ground on April 09, 2019 in Swindon, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)
SWINDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 09: Gemma Bonner, Millie Bright and Kiera Walsh of England celebrate victory during the International Friendly between England Women and Spain Women at the County Ground on April 09, 2019 in Swindon, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

4 Keira Walsh, the number one choice, is key to building attacks while reading the game well on the defensive side. Can sometimes get in trouble if put under pressure in possession. A player who will be a Lionesses stand-out for many years.

16 Jade Moore is a midfielder who adds a lot of bite and fight. A midfield enforcer needed by every team. Came back in the squad at the right time following a long injury.

Central midfielders

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - MAY 31: Jill Scott of England Women controls the ball during an England Women Training Session at the American Express Elite Football performance Centre on May 31, 2019 in Brighton, England.  (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND – MAY 31: Jill Scott of England Women controls the ball during an England Women Training Session at the American Express Elite Football performance Centre on May 31, 2019 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

8 Jill Scott, the box to bo player, has a lot of experience and knowledge of the game mixed with her ability to be in the right place at the right time. A key player in England’s midfield.

23 Lucy Staniforth, the Birmingham midfielder, managed to grab her opportunity when a place in midfield opened. It will be interesting to see if she gets much playing time.

Attacking midfielders

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JUNE 01: Fran Kirby of England Women (R) is challenged by CJ Bott of New Zealand Women during the International Friendly between England Women and New Zealand Women at Amex Stadium on June 01, 2019 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND – JUNE 01: Fran Kirby of England Women (R) is challenged by CJ Bott of New Zealand Women during the International Friendly between England Women and New Zealand Women at Amex Stadium on June 01, 2019 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

10 Fran Kirby, the playmaker, is quick, intelligent, very strong technically, and creative. A key player for England who can only count or Kirby and Karen Carney for anything creative.

19 Georgia Stanway is an up-and-coming playmaker. The 20-year-old is one for the future who could influence the game coming on as a sub. She can score goals from outside of the penalty area. Should Kirby not perform well enough, her place could be taken by Stanway.

Right-wingers

WALSALL, ENGLAND - MAY 25:   Nikita Parris of England looks on prior to the International Friendly between England Women and Denmark Women at Bank's Stadium on May 25, 2019 in Walsall, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
WALSALL, ENGLAND – MAY 25: Nikita Parris of England looks on prior to the International Friendly between England Women and Denmark Women at Bank’s Stadium on May 25, 2019 in Walsall, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

7 Nikita Parris, the Lyon winger, has had a fantastic season scoring bucketloads of goals and it earned her a move to the Champions League winners. She will need to keep her temper in check and avoid those debatable Tom Daley impressions as referees will be helped by VAR.

20 Karen Carney, an experienced winger/playmaker, who can cover in every attacking position except up front. Has been excellent in recent friendlies coming on as a sub.

Left-wingers

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JUNE 01: Beth Mead of England Women dribbles the ball during the International Friendly between England Women and New Zealand Women at Amex Stadium on June 01, 2019 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND – JUNE 01: Beth Mead of England Women dribbles the ball during the International Friendly between England Women and New Zealand Women at Amex Stadium on June 01, 2019 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

11 Toni Duggan, the Barcelona forward, has been a consistent call-up for England and brings a lot of skills, experience, and extra football knowledge as she has been in Spain for many years now.

22 Beth Mead, the Arsenal winger, has been in superb form, finishing as the top assist maker while scoring important goals for club and country. She will be fighting for a starting spot with Duggan on the left-side of the pitch.

Centre-forwards

WALSALL, ENGLAND - MAY 25:  Ellen White of England shoots on goal during the International Friendly between England Women and Denmark Women at Bank's Stadium on May 25, 2019 in Walsall, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
WALSALL, ENGLAND – MAY 25: Ellen White of England shoots on goal during the International Friendly between England Women and Denmark Women at Bank’s Stadium on May 25, 2019 in Walsall, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

18 Ellen White, the Man City striker, has had an excellent season. A hard working, powerful player who can score goals.

9 Jodie Taylor missed half of the season with injuries. At her best, she is clinical, quick and powerful. A complete striker. It’s hard to guess who will be the first choice striker for England.

The stand-bys

BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Steph Houghton of England and Ellie Roebuck of England arrive for a training session at St Georges Park on May 23, 2019 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND – MAY 23: Steph Houghton of England and Ellie Roebuck of England arrive for a training session at St Georges Park on May 23, 2019 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

There are at least 13 stand-bys named for the tournament including one non-playing travelling in the party to France in Ellie Roebuck. They were named by the manager during his press conference while unveiling the squad.

It is interesting to note that Phill Neville is a lot more open about his stand-by list compared to Hope Powell and Mark Sampson who would always hide them to avoid criticism about players being left out. To be honest, some stand-by players look better players than some of made it to the final 23.

GK: Ellie Roebuck, Siobhan Chamberlain, Sandy MacIver

DF: Gemma Bonner, Hannah Blundell, Gabriel George

MF: Isobel Christiansen, Fara Williams

FW: Lauren Bruton, Melissa Lawley, Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly, Chioma Ubogagu

England had a few of their back-up/alternate players train with them two weeks ago. Those seven players were Lauren Hemp, Anna Patten, Grace Fisk, Sandy MacIver, Beth England, Alessia Russo, Aoife Mannion.

Five of them won the Bronze at the FIFA u-20 World Cup last summer in France.

https://twitter.com/Lionesses/status/1129370633111056384

Tune in tomorrow night at the same time to read my assessment on England’s chances of winning the World Cup in France this summer.