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.
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.