Alessia Russo and Ella Toone shine as England boss Sarina Wiegman tinkers with Euro-winning formula

by: fifa2022newsnet


Alessia Russo and Ella Toone are given opportunities to prove they can replace Ellen White with England boss Sarina Wiegman tinkering with her Euro-winning formula as Lionesses qualify for next year’s World Cup

The winning formula Sarina Wiegman perfected at Euro 2022 will have to change for next summer’s World Cup — but in their first game back since being crowned European champions, England showed that their new recipe also works.

A 2-0 victory over Austria, with goals from Alessia Russo and Nikita Parris, sealed their place in Australia and New Zealand with a game to spare.

Wiegman kept the same starting XI for every game of the Euros but there were three changes on Saturday. Ellen White’s retirement meant Russo was handed the No 9 shirt while Ella Toone replaced the injured Fran Kirby. Both Russo and Toone were used as impact subs at the Euros but by next summer they could have cemented a place as starters.

Alessia Russo (right) staked her claim for a starting place in Sarina Wiegman’s England team in the 2-0 win over Austria

‘That’s always the target, to start in this team,’ Toone said. ‘We know the talent that we have in the squad, and Sarina gave me an opportunity and a chance.’

Russo’s strike against Austria means she now has nine goals in 14 caps and she looks the perfect replacement for White.

There’s still lots to do (to improve) and I’ll always say that,’ Russo added.

The third change saw Alex Greenwood replace Rachel Daly at left back. Greenwood started her career in that position but converted to a centre half at Manchester City and was a regular under Wiegman before the Euros. 

Nikita Parris, who joined Manchester United from Arsenal this summer, also got on the scoresheet

Nikita Parris, who joined Manchester United from Arsenal this summer, also got on the scoresheet

But a late tactical switch saw Leah Williamson drop back into the centre of defence and rather than moving Greenwood to left back, Wiegman opted for Daly. But Greenwood was impressive against Austria and could certainly force her way back into Wiegman’s starting line-up.

Saturday was also an important night for two players at opposite ends of their England careers — Nikita Parris and Lauren James. Parris was a bit-part player at the Euros after a disappointing season with Arsenal. The forward was at her peak at the 2019 World Cup but has had a difficult three years. 

A summer move to Manchester United could be the catalyst to a change in fortunes and getting back on the scoresheet for England was the perfect way to head into the new season.

James, meanwhile, came on in the 79th minute to make her debut and has clearly impressed Wiegman in the short time she has been in camp. James has looked sharp in pre-season and, if she can stay injury free, has every chance of making it to the World Cup next year.


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