The English girls taking part in the NCAA 2018 tournament

There will be many English players a taking part in the 2018 NCAA women’s soccer tournament. 64 teams will try to become the national champions.

The 2018 DI women’s soccer tournament kicks off the weekend of Nov. 9-11. Second and third rounds continue the following weekend from Nov. 16-18. The four national semifinalists will be determined in the quarterfinals on Nov. 23-24.

The Women’s College Cup will then be hosted by WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina on Nov. 30 (semifinals) and Dec. 2 (championship game). And in the end there was one English winner Anna Patten with FSU

 

Players out in the first round

Seattle U : Laura Hooper M, previously at Arsenal

Boston College : Rachel Newborough DF, previously at Doncaster Belles

Louisville Mollie Rouse M,  U-20 WC bronze medal, previously at Aston Villa

Bowling Green :  Ruby Linton M,

Loyola Chicago :  Freya Glen M, previously at Millwall, Arsenal and Chelsea

Clemson  Tigers : Sandy McIver  GK U-20 WC bronze medal, previously at Man City

 

Players out in the second round

Hofstra :  Jordan Littleboy M, previously at Arsenal, London Bees and Watford  Miri Taylor M, previously at Arsenal and Chelsea, Lucy Porter M previously at Aston Villa, Lucy Shepherd  F/M previously at Aston Villa

West Virginia : Lois Joel D, previously at Chelsea, Isabella Sibley F previously at Chelsea, Grace Smith D previously at Aston Villa

South Carolina : Grace Fisk D U-20 WC bronze medal ( captain), previously at Millwall

LSU : Lucy Parker D previously at Arsenal , Shannon Cooke D previously at Arsenal , Tinaya Alexander F  previously at Arsenal , Chiara Ritchie-Williams D previously at Arsenal

South Florida: Katie Kitching M

 Kansas University : Ceri Holland M, previously at Manchester City

Players out in the quarterfinals

Southern California : Ashleigh Plumptre M, previously at Notts County, Derby County and Birmingham City

Runner-ups

UNC : Alessia Russo F, U-20 WC bronze medal previously at Brighton and Chelsea, Lotte Wubben-Moy D previously at Arsenal

Championship winner

FSU : Anna Patten D U-20 WC bronze medal, previously at Arsenal,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The 95-97 generation the forgotten girls for England? Part 2

Here we have a look at the players born in 95-97 that are playing in the FA WSL, FA WC in the lower division and at University in the USA.

Again it is important to note, this is not the full list of players born in those years, it is a list of players who were called up before by England at youth level. It means some late blossomer with a lot of qualities would not be not on that list.

 

The players currently in the FA WSL (12)

Jade Bailey (95) Chelsea

Paige Williams (95) Birmingham

Abbey-Leigh Stringer ( 95) Everton

Carla Humphrey (96) Bristol

Jodie Brett (96) Brighton

Mollie Bartrip (96) Reading

Rosella Ayane (96) Bristol

Vyan Sampson (96) West Ham

Georgia Brougham (96) Everton

Claudia Walker (96) Everton

Sarah Mayling ( 97) Birmingham

Jenna Legg (97) Brighton

Kirstie Levell (97) Everton

 

All those players are full time professional and therefore have the right profile for the FA scouts. It is a mix of players who suffered long term injuries and therefore did not manage to establish themselves for their team ( Bailey, Sampson, Legg). Someone like Ayane went abroad to rediscover her love of football.

Clearly all would benefit from playing U-23 international football as the step up to the Senior squad is a tough one and they will need to improve to reach the required level and closing the door to them probably means the end of the road the majority of them in an England shirt.

 

The players currently in the Championship (12)

Millie Turner (96) Manchester United

Katie Zelem (96) Manchester United

Ashlee Brown (96) Aston Villa

Taome Oliver (96) Leicester

Elisha N’Dow (96) Aston Villa

Coral-Jade Haines (96) Spurs

Mollie Green (96) Manchester United

Demi Lambourne (96) Leicester

Evie Clarke (97) Millwall

Eloise Wilson (97) London Bees

Alice Hassall (97) Aston Villa

Lucy Loomes (97) London Bees

Paula Howells ( 97) London Bees

So the majority of the Championship players are student or have a full time job, they are semi-professional, so the odds of a Championship player being called up for the Senior team are very low unless you play in professional environment in the Championship ie for Manchester United.

When you see that Phil Neville calls up Chioma Ubogagu because he has a lack of left footed winger, you would think that England would have tried to see if Paula Howells in the same position could step up by giving her games in the U-23 set-up. But if the staff consider that Rinsola Babajide is a better prospect as a left sided winger, then it makes sense in that position to select the Liverpool player.

And the same can apply to every player in the FA WSL/ FA WC list that can be compared to a U-21 player.  For example, Georgia Stanway v Katie Zelem or Carla Humphrey in the number 10 role.

 

The players studying in the USA and playing in the NCAA (5)

Karin Muya ( 95) University of Notre Dame

Lucy Whipp ( 95) St John’s

Maisie Baker (96) University of Miami Hurricanes

Jemma Purfield (97) Arizona Sun Devils

Atlanta Primus (97)  Cal State Fullerton

 

Jemma Purfield was called up for the U-23 team and is an option either at left-back or as a left-winger. She is now a senior at University and you would expect her to go to the NWSL draft and maybe be drafted. And from there a potential senior call-up. The transition to the senior side for a player with a potential like her would have been facilitated by the U-23 team.

 

The players who play below the top two tiers in England (6)

Ellie Stewart (96) Sunderland FA WNL North

Natasha Flint ( 96) Blackburn Rovers FA WNL North

Caitlin Leach (96)

Tyler Dodds (96) Middlesborough  FA WNL North

Sophie Stamp (97) Leeds

Emma Kelly (97) Middlesborough  FA WNL North

 

There was a call-up for one of those player at U-23 level and is clearly a loss for her as there is no real chance the England senior  staff to be watching third tier football as they have already many games to scout in the top tier and sometimes in the second tier.

It is obvious that the 95-97 generation players that are not called up to the Seniors are not world beater, but there was certainly a potential development for five or six of them towards the senior team. Again the U-21 squad selected by Mo Marley  is really strong and you would expect a good number of them to transition to the seniors like Roebuck and Stanway have already done.

It is up to those girls who will miss out on England to improve their game quickly and show Phil Neville they are up for it. Probably not for the World Cup as the squad seems very settled and the opportunity seems gone, but more likely for the Euros 2021.

The 95-97 generation the forgotten girls for England? Part 1

Another reform for the team playing below the Senior side, it has now become the U-21 team, there is question mark about the girls born between 95 and 97, as they won’t be able to play international games unless they get selected for the full squad.

Historically the second team was the U-23 team and it was created to transition the players who were competing with the U-19 side and then had to wait for years in the international wilderness before a senior call-up. I mean not many girls are ready to step up age 19 or 20 to the full squad.

When the U-23 team started to get overage players on regular basis, it got changed to the Next Gen team name to reflect the fact that 24 and 25 years old players were selected.

Now we are going down to a U-21 team, which means the girls aged 21 to 24 in for the season 2018/19 have no international prospect any more, unless they get to the Senior squad and therefore it will be harder for them to reach that level.

We know that Phil Neville and his staff are either scouting live at games or watching the videos and therefore they know the players, but nothing replaces seeing them in training camp and match day situation.

The first thing that comes to mind is the 98-2000 generation has a few diamonds, they have competed in a U-17 and a U-20 World Cup and there are many high potential players. Therefore looking at the 2021 Euros and the 2023 World Cup, the FA has decided to go with them and develop that potential.

There is nothing wrong with that concept. The FA stated they aim to win the World Cup in 2023 and if they feel those generation are well equipped to do it, it is a fair call.

Here, I am going to have a look at the generations that played at the U-19 Euros in 2014, 15 and 16 ie the girls born from 95 to 97 to try to understand why those ones have been “abandoned”, and if there are players with potential among those “forgotten” generations. It is important to note that some players from that generation are regulars with the senor team already and will be mentioned.

Note as usual with the FA website, it is hard to track down the information about the old squads and therefore I will only get a sample of the names selected in that period. You can have an  idea of those squads by looking on the UEFA websites, wikipedia and other FA’s website. Shame the FA website is not easy to navigate and does not archive old data.

The players from that generation that are regulars with England seniors (3)

Leah Williamson (97) Arsenal, FA WSL

Gabrielle George (97) Everton, FA WSL

Keira Walsh ( 97) Man City FA WSL

 

Interestingly the three regulars with England from that generation are all younger players. They are all defensive players with two centre-backs and one defensive midfielder.

The players on the fringe / close to be selected for the Senior squad (3)

Aoife Mannion (95) Birmingham, FA WSL

Sophie Baggaley ( 96) Bristol, FA WSL

Jessica Carter (97) Chelsea, FA WSL

 

Mannion has a lot of competition at centre-back with Houghton, Bright, Williamson, George and McManus ahead of her in the pecking order. Does she perform better on regular basis that some of her competitors.  Now only someone who has access to the full games would have a proper idea if this is true or not, because highlights only show certain moments.

One key point for me is Mannion is smaller in height than her competitors and I remember under Hope Powell one U-23 player being told, she would not make it to the Seniors because she was too small as a centre-back. At the end of the day, the centre back pairing is a question of finding a partnership and a balance. For example, you can have a slow centre-back if you have a quick one alongside her.

Baggaley also has a lot of competition with Telford, Earps, Bardsley, Chamberlain and now Roebuck who has been called up. With Telford, Chamberlain and Bardsley who is currently injured, experience is on their side to justify their selection. Earps has performed consistently well for a couple of season at least in the FA WSL and now plays, not very often, for the second best team in Europe.  Her  performance level is very high this season and would deserve a call-up on current form.  Was it as good last year?

Now why would Roebuck would have overtaken her in the pecking order. We have to remember that strangely enough, she did not get a game at the U-20 World Cup and in all logic, she should be behind that goalie.Saying that Sandy McIver is probably not available due to the NCAA tournament taking place soon.

But, it is obvious that Roebuck has a big potential and the England coaches value the games she played with Manchester City in the League and in the Champions better than the ones played by Baggaley with Bristol in the League.

It is like an equation with multiple parameters where rating = intensity x performance x potential x behavior x factor X and it ends up with Roebuck > Baggaley for Phil Neville. Factor x could be anything like the player’s height for the centre-backs.

Carter seemed to have much more credit as a right-back under Mark Sampson and is behind Bronze and  Blundell and maybe even McManus in the pecking order. Obviously no English player is a better right-back that Bronze, you cannot find me player i the world that is as good as her actually. Why Blundell is preferred to Carter, it is all in the strength and weaknesses and what the manager thinks the player can offer in his system and football style.

 

The players currently playing abroad

Jenna Dear (96) Valarenga,  Topserien

The playmaker has played for numerous team after starring in Chelsea’s youth team and now plying her trade at the top level in Norway. U-23 games would certainly players like her who are not on regular basis in the manager’s mind as they could see how she is developing over there.

 

Now, we have to remember that the U-21 team is a tool for the Senior squad. As we are talking about international football, it is different from club football and the England manager is looking for players with potential that fit his idea of football.  International football squads are never about taking all the best football players together.

The number of non football parameters like social interaction, players personality etc are important in a squad, because a fractured squad is a guarantee of failure in a football tournament. Off the pitch time is so much greater than to on the pitch time. And I am not even going to try to mention the squad hierarchy stuff because it is another long subject.

There are certainly a number of talented players among those born in 95-97 that could do with playing U-23 games to carry on developing their game, but they will probably have to do this with their club. Champions League football  is one way to confront themselves with the highest football level, but not many players get access to it.

In Part 2, we will look at the players who are not close to being selected for the Seniors so far and are playing in the FA WSL, in the championship and at  University in the USA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More information on the Women Ballon d’Or

France Football have announced last week that they would create the women Ballon d’Or trophy, they have given us more information in the magazine’s paper edition.

The new trophy is first mentioned in the editorial and FF says they created Le Ballon d’Or Feminin “because the women are worth it “. They also said the voting system will be exactly the same as the men’s one i.e. journalist from around the world will vote, but they are not the same journo as the ones who are voting for the men’s trophy.

The trophy will be announced on the 3rd of December at the same time as the Ballon d’Or and the Kopa (U-21) trophy. The voting team will be journalists specialized in women’s football from all over the world with FF hoping to gather 40 experts.

The editorial mentions some potential candidates for the trophy “welcome to Ada, Sam Dzsenifer, Amandine, Megan and all the other players. Welcome to the golden family that demand excellence in performance. “ 

The magazine also interviewed Pernille Harder, Ada Hegerberg, Saki Kumagai, Dzsenifer Maroszan, Marta Lieke Martens and Wendie Renard. Those players could and should be candidates for the first trophy.

 

interviews

 

The magazine quotes women’s football growth as one of the reason as a reason behind the trophy’s creation: “5 000 000 players registered around the world with 165 000 in France alone. TV ratings also growing with 764 million  viewers during the FIFA WWC 2015 and attendance as well with seven games with 50k + fans during the same tournament.”

FF also mentions international tournaments and Leagues: “the Women Champions League,  the World Cup and also the NWSL, the rich US League with strong teams like Orlando Pride, Chicago Red Stars and Seattle Reign. If over there are players like Megan Rapinoe ( USA), Sam Kerr ( Australia), or Marta ( Brazil), Europe complete the international representation at the highest level with Ada Hegerberg ( Norway), Dzsenifer Maroszan ( Germany), Lucy Bronze ( England), or Amandine Henry ( France). All those players will compete to get a place among the fifteen nominees that will be revealed live on la Chaine l”Equipe and FranceFootball.fr on the 8th of October. “

The winner will be named in a live show on La Chaine l’Equipe on the 3rd of December.

Let’s try to guess who will be the fifteen nominees for the first Women Ballon d’Or. In all logic all the players mentioned in the article should  have a shout. They are in alphabetical order Lucy Bronze, Pernille Harder, Ada Hegerberg, Amandine Henry, Samantha Kerr, Saki Kumagai, Dzsenifer Maroszan, Marta, Lieke Martens, Megan Rapinoe, Wendie Renard.  Those eleven names might be in the list and I believe Fran Kirby is also very likely to be in the Ballon d’Or shortlist as well.

All the names will be revealed in less than a week’s time live on French tv.

Corinne Diacre names her squad for the Mexico friendly

The France manager has called up a new player forward Clara Mateo who won the U-19 Euros in 2016 and called back midfielder Kenza Dali who had been out of the squad for a long time due to injuries. There is no current U-20 player called up.

2018/19 is a big season for France with the World cup at home in June being the target and many players will hope to make the final 23 players squad, as it is clearly not settled yet for a good number of places.

The Mexico game squad is as follows

GK : Benameur, Bouhaddi, Durand
DF : Debever, Karchaoui, Majri, Mbock, Périsset, Renard, Torrent
MF : Bilbault, Diallo, Diani, Geyoro, Henry, Toletti
FW : Asseyi, D.Cascarino, Dali, Le Sommer, Matéo, Sarr, Thiney

GK  it is quite obvious that Bouhaddi will be there with her experience in the game, Benameur could get the number 1 shirt though, the hierarchy is not decided yet. Durand is the current number three goalie, but Chavas with the U-20 team right now might come into the equation later.

RB Torrent has the shirt and Perisset is her understudy at the moment

LB Majri is the number one choice with Karchaoui her back-up. U-20 players Bacha and Baltimore might offer an alternative later in the season, if one of the two  main players performance level drops.

CB Renard and M’Bock Bathy are certainties to go to the World Cup, except for an injury of course, Debever is in the squad, she was a very late call up at age 29 last season. It will be interesting to see what Tounkara does at Athletico Madrid this season.

CM Henry and Geyoro will make the final squad, Diallo has been a constant choice from Diacre for a while now. Bilbault is a defensive midfielder who will compete for a fringe player place, while Toletti will certainly try to grab an attacking midfielder spot with players like Lavogez and Corboz also vying for a squad place.

Wingers Le Sommer is used there by Diacre rather than in the middle and is more or less the only winger guaranteed to be there in June. Asseyi has been a regular call-up under Diacre mainly in a substitute role. Can she fight the competition of Diani and Cascarino who have both failed so far to show any real consistency overall. Both are skillful but do not show it often enough with France. Dali has just been called back into the squad, it will be interesting to see where she fits in.

Centre forwards newcomer Mateo played fr all the youth national teams with success. Sarr has been a regular as well under Diacre but not consistent so far. Thiney of course, is a very experienced players in a team that does not hold many of them.  U-20 players Katoto and Delabre could be called up in the next squad depending on how they perform with their clubs, especially Katoto who has a huge potential.

There is no doubt that from the 23 players list a good number of those will be in the final world Cup squad. But there will be  a lot of places also up for grabs  now and throughout the season.

With a home World Cup to come, the pressure will be huge for the manager, staff and players to win the trophy and mental strength has not always been a feature in France’s previous tournament alongside the lack of clinical finishing of course.

England U-20 WWC squad revealed

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.

In defense

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.

In midfield

Five players selected all as expected. Consistent and logical choices from Mo Marley.

In attack

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.

England U-20 squad long list published by the FA, who will make it to the finals ?

In a break from their usual  modus operandi of not publishing the long lists for international tournament, the FA has named their 35 players squad for the FIFA U-20 WWC that will take place in August in France.

The long squad is as follows and my 35 players prediction list is actually quite close to it.

Long squad:

Georgia Allen (Syracuse University), Rinsola Babajide (Liverpool), Hannah Cain (Sheffield FC), Niamh Charles (Liverpool), Zoe Cross (University of Missouri), Rianna Dean (Millwall Lionesses), Charlie Devlin (Millwall Lionesses), Megan Finnigan (Everton), Grace Fisk (University of South Carolina), Serena Fletcher (Manchester City), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Taylor Hinds (Everton), Alicia Johnson (Liverpool), Chloe Kelly (Everton), Sandy MacIver (Clemson University), Esme Morgan (Manchester City), Jess Ngunga (Arsenal), Mayumi Pacheco (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Aimee Palmer (Bristol City), Anna Patten (Florida State University), Poppy Pattinson (Manchester City), Lucy Parker (Louisiana State University), Chloe Peplow (Brighton & Hove Albion), Emily Ramsey (Liverpool), Rebecca Rayner (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City), Sian Rogers (Aston Villa), Mollie Rouse (University of Louisville), Alessia Russo (University of North Carolina), Connie Scofield (Birmingham City), Georgia Stanway (Manchester City), Samantha Tierney (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Ella Toone (Manchester City), Charlie Wellings (Birmingham City), Lotte Wubben-Moy (University of North Carolina).

The big omission is Ellie Brazil and Mo Marley has commented about her choice :

“I wanted to acknowledge Ellie Brazil’s contribution over the last year and her non-inclusion.

“In recent weeks we have had discussions about where she is at with her career and agreed together that it would be best for her to focus on her own development during this period.

“Everyone respects this decision and of course Ellie will remain very much part of our plans in future.”

Quite what it means is subject to interpretation but Ellie was a certainty for me to be in the final squad as mentioned in my previous post. It opens the door for a forward to make the final 21 players squad.

Here are the players that I did not have in my original  squad prediction and who could make it to France :

Jess N’Gunga  FW ( Arsenal), Aimee Palmer MF ( Bristol City) , Poppy Pattinson LB ( Manchester City), Rebecca Rayner MF ( Doncaster Belles), Connie Scofield MF ( Birmingham City).

Regarding Jess N’Gunga, there are many players in the queue for the forward place and many of them have had first team experience this season, while she has had very little with two or three games on as a sub.

Aimee Palmer, Rebbeca Rayner  and Connie  Scofield certainly have a chance to make the final 21 if Mo Marley selects six midfielders as I believe the five mains slots are clearly locked. The would have to compete with Charlotte Devlin for the the possible sixth slot who had an excellent season with Millwall.

Poppy Pattinson is your classic left-back and looks to me in the queue behind Mayumi Pacheco and Taylor  Hinds and had certainly a lot less first team experience that the other two players, but would be a logical back-up if one of them end up being injured.

Let’s have an updated final 21 players squad prediction. As per the FIFA rules the 21 players must be selected from the 35 players long-list

GOALKEEPERS – 3 SLOTS

There are four players competing in the squad. Sandy McIver and Ellie Roebuck are definitely going if they are not injured IMO. The final place is between Sian Rogers and Emily Ramsey.

The third goalkeeper place is a special one as that player in general is unlikely to play during the tournament, it requires a player with an excellent mentality to help and prepare the number one goalie.  Either the coaching staff will go for the player with the most first team experience or with the player who can learn from the experience and then bring in the next cycle for the next U20 World Cup in  2020.

DEFENDERS – 6 OR 7  SLOTS

As in my previous post, the following six players should be logically selected, pending injuries of course : Mayumi Pacheco, Grace Fisk, Lotte Wubben-Moy,  Anna Patten, Megan Finnigan Taylor Hinds

Then for the last spot, we have two versatile players who had consistent club season Lucy Parker and Samantha Thierney and a up and coming also versatile player, who could learn from the experience and bring it in the next U20 World Cup Esme Morgan.

Another tough choice to make for Mo Marley and her coaching staff. Obviously we do not know how the players perform at the training camp as it certainly influences the final choice.

MIDFIELDERS – 5 OR 6 SLOTS

To me the five spots are locked : Georgia Stanway, Chloe Peplow, Mollie Rouse, Zoe Cross,  Georgia Allen should all make it. If one of them do not make it, it would defy the logic. England have taken those five players to the tournaments and camp on regular basis and therefore should select them.
But a surprise is possible, if we remember what happened to the senior squad in 2015. Demi Stokes who was ever present during the qualifiers missed out altogether with Alex Greenwood and Claire Rafferty making the squad ahead of her.

For the sixth slot, Charlotte Devlin had a very good season with Millwall and should have a shout. Or depending on what kind of profile Mo Marly wants to take as a sixth midfielder Aimee Palmer, Rebbeca Rayner and Connie Scofield could be there.

But considering Lucy Parker and Samantha Tierney can  play in defense and midfield, I tend to think, it will be five midfielders and seven defenders in the squad with six forwards.

FORWARDS – 6 OR 7 SLOTS

Of course Mo Marley could decide in a 6-5-7 configuration with seven forwards, but having six of them means every position is doubled up, which should be enough.

I think that Chloe Kelly, Alessia Russo, Lauren Hemp  should be on the plane to Brittany . If Mo Marley follows the squad logic from previous call-ups Niamh Charles should make it as well.

Then you have two remaining places Charlie Wellings’ club form would make her a favourite to get one of these seats. And for the last remaining place, it is simply impossible to know who could get it. It should be between Rinsola Babajide and Rianna Dean with the Liverpool forward slightly favourite as she has been ever present in previous despite her lack of playing time in the FA WSL1.

 

Overall I think 18 players are nailed on certainties :  Sandy McIver, Ellie Roebuck, Mayumi Pacheco, Grace Fisk, Lotte Wubben-Moy*,  Anna Patten, Megan Finnigan, Taylor Hinds, Georgia Stanway, Chloe Peplow, Mollie Rouse, Zoe Cross,  Georgia Allen, Chloe Kelly, Alessia Russo, Lauren Hemp, Niamh Charles, Charlie Wellings’

Therefore three places could be available. We will soon now when Mo Marley names her squad for the tournament that is starting in four weeks.

*just back in training, could be short of match fitness and therefore not in the squad.