Sarina Wiegman planning strong England team for Northern Ireland dead rubber: “I believe in rhythm”

·2-min read
Sarina Wiegman planning strong England team for Northern Ireland dead rubber: “I believe in rhythm”

Sarina Wiegman is not planning to make wholesale changes for England’s Euro 2022 dead rubber against Northern Ireland on Friday.

The Lionesses have already secured top spot in Group A and booked a quarter-final next week against either Denmark or Spain after beating Austria and Norway in their opening two games.

It means England have the luxury of going into Friday’s final group game against Northern Ireland with nothing riding on it.

But Wiegman is not planning to ring the changes and rest players as she wants to keep momentum going after Monday’s 8-0 win over Norway.

“I believe in rhythm,” she said. “I think when you have nine days in between the Norwegian game and the quarter-finals that’s too long.

“I think you need more rhythm and keep the focus, and keep playing. So you couldn’t expect lots of rotations. During the game, probably, but not before the start.”

Wiegman has so far named the same XI for both of England’s games at Euro 2022 and asked if those who haven’t started would be disappointed to miss out on Friday, she said: “Of course, and I understand that too.

“We have 22 players and you can only let 11 start. We will do what we believe gives us the best chance to win the next game.

“And yes of course some players will be disappointed, but we keep communicating, we keep being clear about what we do and why we do it.

“Yes sometimes you can be a little disappointed, that’s totally understandable, because if you wouldn’t be eager to play than the player wouldn’t be in this squad.”

Sarina Wiegman is not planning to rest her star players (Getty Images)
Sarina Wiegman is not planning to rest her star players (Getty Images)

Not rotating means Wiegman runs the risk of one of her key players getting injured, such as the tournament’s top scorer Beth Mead.

“But that’s always the case,” Wiegman added. “Always things can happen at the level we play. But what we want to do is play a good game.

“We are focused, we are concentrated, we will probably have a lot of the ball in possession, we keep the ball going and then be composed.

“That’s what we have do - and then play the game. You always know at this level, you are looking for the edge and things can happen, and another player will be ready.

“Of course we don’t hope for that, but the priority is to keep rhythm and stay connected, communicating on and off the pitch.”

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