Phil Neville has named his squad for the upcoming friendlies against Belgium and Germany, so how does it look?
England will host the 2021 Euros and will therefore only play friendlies until the tournament starts.
The first thing that comes to mind is Phil Neville has chosen not to make any hard decisions about World Cup players.
The only one missing is Jill Scott as she is being rested. Not one player has been dropped.
Arsenal have two players called-up in Leah Williamson and Beth Mead.
Neville has decided to inject some youth in the squad by calling up four new players, two of whom could or should have been part of his World Cup squad, if selection had been decided on form only.
Of course, there are many more criteria than simply form to be taken into account, some which are not even football related, and that explains why Beth England and Aoife Mannion were not involved in the tournament in France.
It also has to be said that squad players in their positions did not get many chances, so they might not have been able to influence things on the pitch anyway.
It is also interesting to notice that Aoife Mannion has been called up for the first time as soon as she has left Birmingham for Manchester City.
Obviously, she has not improved remarkably in the one month she has spent with the Citizens. So you do wonder why she didn’t get an earlier call up…
The same situation happened with Melissa Lawley, who was called up for the England senior side immediately after moving from Birmingham to Man City. Is it simply a coincidence that two different managers did the same thing?
I think it is quite important to note that Neville has brought two hungry and top-quality centre-backs into his squad and it means his four World Cup players (Houghton, Bright, McManus and Williamson) will have to perform, as they will be under pressure and could lose their place in the squad for the 2021 Euros if they are not careful.
Those youngsters will prevent any complacency from the senior players and they might already be better than two or three of those.
There is also a first call-up for Sandy McIver in goal who impressed during the u20 WWC in 2018 and it means a very young goalies line-up with Carly Telford the most experienced player.
One semi-curious choice is Lucy Bronze named as a midfielder rather than a defender. Does that mean we will see that Bronze at number 8 experiment against Belgium or Norway again?
Phil Neville also mentioned that Grace Fisk, another centre-back, Alessia Russo, a winger and Lauren Hemp, a striker, will be also given a chance in the next camp. So more competition will be introduced in preparation for the 2021 Euros.
There are also the Tokyo Olympics to be prepared for but with a squad of 18+4 alternate players and many quality Scottish, Welsh and maybe even Northern Irish players likely to be involved, this season should be interesting for the Lionesses despite only playing friendlies for the next two years.