Sarina Wiegman praises England’s squad depth ahead of Belgium clash
England face Belgium on Wednesday night for an Arnold Clark Cup decider, with both teams locked on six points each
By Ed Hardy
Sarina Wiegman has praised England’s squad depth ahead of tomorrow’s Arnold Clark Cup decider against Belgium.
The Lionesses’ manager, who led the team to European Championship glory last year, revealed her excitement at having a selection headache thanks to the abundance of quality in every position.
England beat South Korea 4-0 in the tournament’s opening round, before Wiegman made nine changes to the starting XI for their 2-1 victory over Italy, while a win tomorrow would clinch the trophy.
"So far I'm very happy [after the squad has seen a big influx of players post-Euros],” said Wiegman, whose side are unbeaten in 28 games - England’s longest ever streak.
“In sport it is normal that there are dynamics in the team - there will be changes, some players will retire, young players will challenge.
"I think the depth in the squad is growing. What you see now, it is really hard to make decisions.
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— Lionesses (@Lionesses) February 21, 2023
"We have more than 11 players that could start in the team. It's about the tactical choices we want to make and what the options are when we want to change the game, so it's actually very exciting.”
Wiegman confirmed there will be further changes against Belgium, as she continues to experiment ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The striker position is one that’s hotly contested with Wiegman insisting “we have so many good number nines”, after Rachel Daly scored twice against Italy in her first start of the tournament.
Defender Millie Bright said: “We all know what Rach [Daly] is capable of. She's also very versatile and I think it's key to have that in the squad. She's a player that's very willing, and she will literally play anywhere.
“I like to see every player succeed. And I think that's the beauty of having the squad that we do.
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— Lionesses (@Lionesses) February 20, 2023
“We want everyone to perform and be at their best, and ultimately we need everyone to be at their best to do great things.”
England are unbeaten in 11 games against tomorrow’s opponents, with Belgium’s last victory over the Lionesses coming in 1980.
But, despite not qualifying for this year’s World Cup, Belgium have also won both games in this tournament to stretch their winning run to three.
“They have played well,” said Wiegman. “They played really well in the Euros [reached the last-16], and they just missed out on the World Cup.
“They play a recognisable style of play. It’s organised. They have some very good players They also have some height in their team that they use sometimes.
“We expect that we’ll be in possession a lot, but they can challenge us at some moments if we give them the opportunity.”