Parris looking to shine in France ahead of Lyon move

Nikita Parris is confident she can make a big impression in France with England this summer ahead of starting life there as a Lyon player.

The forward is heading into what will be her first senior Women’s World Cup having had a stellar 2018-19 season, scoring 19 league goals for Manchester City.

That was followed by confirmation on May 21 that she was joining a Lyon outfit who had just been crowned European champions for a fourth successive year.

The Groupama Stadium, where the team play some of their home matches, is the venue for the World Cup semis and final.

Parris, who describes scoring the winner in that final as “a dream scenario”, told Press Association Sport when asked if she felt she could be a star at the tournament: “Yes, definitely.

“I’m confident in my own ability, what I can do on a football pitch, and I’m confident in the players I’ve got around me.

“They are great players and as a team we bond well and play well together.

Nikita Parris is looking to star for England this summer (Huawei handout photo/PA)
Nikita Parris is looking to star for England this summer (Huawei handout photo/PA)

“It’s about us all putting our best foot forward as individuals, and more importantly as a team, because ultimately it’s going to take the whole team to win this tournament.”

Parris, departing the Women’s Super League as its all-time top-scorer, was England’s leading scorer in their World Cup qualifying campaign with six goals.

On the subject of netting a goal in the final that clinches the trophy, the FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year said: “It’s a dream scenario.

“We do take one game at a time. But don’t get me wrong, I’m sure plenty of people have had dreams about scoring that goal in the final.

Parris scored six goals in England's World Cup qualifying campaign (Barry Coombs/PA).
Parris scored six goals in England’s World Cup qualifying campaign (Barry Coombs/PA).

“I remember saying to one of my friends, it would be a great occasion to be able to finally play in a World Cup game, which hopefully on June 9 I will (when England face Scotland in Nice in their Group D opener).

“But ultimately you want to win the trophy, to lift it. If I lift that trophy on July 7 I’m sure I will be ecstatic.”

England, ranked third in the world and among the favourites as they look to win the tournament for the first time, followed up third place at the 2015 edition by reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2017.

Parris scored during that campaign two years ago, and at this year’s SheBelieves Cup, when Phil Neville’s side drew 2-2 with hosts and reigning world champions the United States en route to winning the four-team invitational competition.

The 25-year-old said: “Over the years I feel like we’ve earned the right to be able to say we’re going into this tournament to win gold.

“We’re not just saying it, off the back of poor performances at previous World Cups. We’ve come from bronze in 2015, so why not push for the gold?

“I feel like it is naturally the next step for us as a team and we’ve really worked hard over the last two years to ensure that we maintain a status within international football of being one of the best teams.”

Nikita Parris has partnered with Huawei Mobile alongside BBC pundit Reshmin Chowdhury for this summer’s tournament in France. Keep up with all the latest news direct from the England camp as the Lionesses look to ensure ‘it comes home’ by following @HuaweiMobileUK on Instagram and Twitter.