The Lionesses Are Ready To Roar Again
The Three Lionesses have been handed hosting duties for this year’s delayed tournament and although football did not quite come home last year with the men’s senior team, there is every chance that their female counterparts can get the job done instead.
A job that will see England and 15 other nations attempt to rule the European roost and with manager Sarina Wiegman recently announcing her 23-woman squad, preparations for the tournament have gone up a notch.
Preparations that will aim to help England perform even better than five years ago and with a best ever showing in the Netherlands, 2017 was the first finals appearance that did not end in a group stage exit.
Not only did England avoid being dumped out before the knockout phase, but they also managed to go all the way to the final four and after being paired with 2017’s hosts, their passage to the final was blocked off at the final hurdle.
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Now though, England has the very person who helped mastermind their downfall in Euro 2017 and with Sarina Wiegman at the wheel for this year’s tournament hosts, expectations for success are higher than they have even been before.
Especially when you consider that 2017 was such a step-change in terms of English performance and after four previous showings that could be considered dismal at best, the previous crop of female football talents had certainly come of age.
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Because when looking at how England has performed in the European Championships to date, there was little to write home about before 2017 and in 12 previous matches before their upturn in fortunes, only two wins were recorded.
However, 2017 has certainly fuelled the machine which is English women’s football today and with a perfect group stage record in the Netherlands now in the history books, it means that the nation’s overall record in the opening phase is as follows
|P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS||PTS PER GAME AVERAGE|
Now though it is time to look at what is just around the corner and with the weight of history not necessarily acting as a precursor to future performance, here is how England’s Euro 2022 squad will look
A squad that has not only a number of exciting talents amongst it but also a blend of previous tournament experience and with no less than eight players having also been named for Euro 2017, this know-how should bode well in Group A and hopefully beyond.
Now that we know who the 23 are, another interesting aspect will be to see how this looks in terms of club distribution and the split of the latest England panel has something of a Manchester flavour to it in 2022
As no fewer than 11 players currently ply their trade for one of the Manchester giants and another point of interest here, is the domestic big six making up the lions share of England players for this summer.
With 20 of the 23 comprising from clubs that are traditional big six members (and in fairness, this is only five clubs due to no representation from Tottenham), it shows that the might in the men’s game is transferring over to the female of the species as well.
However, this group does not have a monopoly either and there are notable shoutouts to Aston Villa who will be represented by Hannah Hampton and the pair of Lucy Bronze and Rachel Daly who currently play for Barcelona and Houston Dash respectively.
PUT A CAP ON IT
Now that we know eight of the Euro 2017 crop will also be making the nation proud in 2022, that is not the only measure when it comes to experience and arguably a better way to do so is by looking at the international caps of each player in the squad.
As we can see in the table above, it is Jill Scott who is head and shoulders above the rest and with more than 150 England caps to her name already, her experience is going to be vital both on and off the field of play.
While Ellen White will also be hand on offer advice to some of her younger teammates and as the forward is the second member of the 100 club for England’s Euro 2022 campaign, she will also be keen to prove her worth in front of goal once more.
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At the other end of the spectrum, there are six members of Sarina Wiegman’s panel that have less than 10 caps going into the tournament, and it is the goalkeeping area that is particularly understocked when it comes to caps.
Because each of the three ladies that have been selected to potentially play between the sticks has only 27 caps between them and of those, it is Mary Earps who leads the way with just 17 international appearances to her name.
This means that going into the first game of Euro 2022, the squad has an overall total of 892 caps between them and although the likes of Jill Scott and Ellen White have broken a century, the average is only 38.8 caps per player.
AN EYE FOR GOAL
Now that we know where the experience is, we can also see where the goals are likely to come from and when looking at the squad when ranked by international goals this is what it looks like (players on 0 goals excluded)
It perhaps stands to reason that Ellen White and Jill Scott were going to be at the top of the list, if only because of their lengthy international experience. Then again, the former’s record of nearly a goal every other game at this level is certainly not to be diminished.
A ratio that is improved further when you look at Beth Mead and although she has only played 36 times for England, it has already offered her enough time to score a rather impressive 20 goals for her country.
While the trio of Fran Kirby, Ella Toone and Lucy Bronze will also be ready to offer their attacking nous and with each of these three players also being in double figures for England, they will be more than supporting cast members this summer.
This means that going into Euro 2022, the England squad currently has 190 international goals attached to it and when averaging this figure across all 23 players involved, it is an average of 8.3 per squad member.
THE PERFECT BLEND
Another aspect that manager Sarina Wiegman will have to deal with, is attempting to fuse youth with experience and making sure that positive results come from it at the same time. This means a lot of focus will be on player age within the England squad.
|Position||Player||Date of Birth||Age|
Here we once again see that Jill Scott and Ellen White are top of the shop and although they may not want to top this particular table, they can do nothing to slow down the football ageing process either.
With these two players being the only squad members to be 33 or older, it is not a panel that is too top-heavy in terms of age and the same can be said when there are only five members who are on the wrong side of 29.
While at the other end of proceedings, there are nine players who are 24 or younger and when accounting for all the squad’s respective ages at the time of writing, the average age is just 26.4 – something that suggests the balance is as good as it will ever be.
BEEN THERE, WON THAT
One other thing to consider is which players have won club accolades and although England’s women are yet to crack the international tournament holy grail, some of the current squad are not shy when it comes to lifting silverware
Here is a snapshot of each of the players who have won either a domestic league or Champions League before Euro 2022
|Position||Player||Top League Won||Champions League Won|
It is good news for manager Sarina Wiegman, as no fewer than 16 players have won either a domestic top flight or the Women's Champions League and when you look at Lucy Bronze, she has won six of the former and three of the latter.
Not to forget the likes of Fran Kirby and Millie Bright who have won five and four domestic top flights respectively and they will now look to add international silverware to their haul of trophies at a club level.
While these 16 players have won no fewer than 36 domestic top flights or Champions League titles between them and it is fair to say, that this current England squad is lacking nothing in the way of trophy winning aptitude before Euro 2022 gets underway.
Data from Wikipedia – correct as of 27th June 2022