Mo Marley has named her squad for the the FIFA U-20 WWC that will take place from the 5th to the 24th of August in France. There is no real surprise among the 21 players selected with maybe three or four players who are slightly debatable choices.
The squad is as follows :
Goalkeepers: Sandy MacIver (Clemson University), Emily Ramsey (Manchester United), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City)
Defenders: Megan Finnigan (Everton), Grace Fisk (University of South Carolina), Taylor Hinds (Everton), Esme Morgan (Manchester City), Mayumi Pacheco (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Anna Patten (Florida State University)
Midfielders: Georgia Allen (Syracuse University), Zoe Cross (University of Missouri), Ali Johnson* (Bristol), Chloe Peplow (Brighton & Hove Albion), Mollie Rouse (University of Louisville)
Forwards: Rinsola Babajide (Liverpool), Niamh Charles (Liverpool), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Chloe Kelly (Everton), Alessia Russo (University of North Carolina), Georgia Stanway* (Manchester City), Charlie Wellings (Birmingham City).
Although England consider Stanway as a forward, I have always seen her as an attacking midfielder and therefore will put her as midfielder. And Johnson will be considered as a forward as she is a winger, although her new club considers her as a full-back.
To me, Mo Marley has been very logical and consistent and therefore there are 17 players selected who were 100% sure to be there in my opinion.
I actually had 19 players very likely to make it, but two of them did not more many reasons. Ellie Brazil who was not selected at her request and Lotte Wubben-Moy who has just come back from a long term injury and therefore not fit for a World Cup.
So alongside those expected 17 players, there are only four players, where selection is only slightly debatable as there is no real controversy surrounding those four players.
In goal, the choice was made between Sian Rogers and Emily Ramsey. The United goalkeeper got the nod, was it because she has a bigger potential or because Rogers had not fully recovered from her League injuries towards the end of the season. Ramsey is likely to be third choice and will have an important role in helping the number one goalie.
Esme Morgan who numerically replaces Lotte Wubben-Moy has had first team experience with Manchester City and can play at right-back or centre back.
Some fans mentioned that Samantha Tierney was consistent in term of playing time and performance for Doncaster Belles, but with City playing at a higher level including Champions League, you can see the logic in selecting Morgan. Lucy Parker also had a good season with her University, but that was not enough to be selected.
Five players selected all as expected. Consistent and logical choices from Mo Marley.
There are two small surprises there imo. Alicia Johnson and Rinsola Babajide.
I had wrongly not even registered Johnson on my radar, as I have not seen much of her throughout the season. So I actually had no idea of the level because half an hour on tv does not tell you much if a players has been good or not. The Liverpool regulars will have a better and well informed view on her performances.
The other player who is a half-surprise to me is Rinsola Babajide. She is rightly there because, she has been ever present around the squad for two seasons and there would be no real reason to drop her out of the squad. Except the lack of club playing time from January.
Because there are seven forwards selected, those two players actually add a certain balance to the squad and different profiles from the other five players. Therefore it is only a half surprise to see them selected.
Players in the long list like Rianna Dean, Charlie Devlin and Hannah Cain who were consistent in FA WSL2 could also have got a shout, but it is always a question of having a squad of players who complement each other and are useful during the tournament.
England have a good chance of getting a medal should they get out of the tough group stage. They will first play Korea DPR the holders, who are always a bit of unknown quantity. Then Brazil and will finish the group stage with Mexico.
Then depending on the results in Group A, England could face the hosts France, Ghana, the Netherlands or New-Zealand in the quarter-finals. From the semi-finals on, everything is possible, even winning the title.