The excitement and anticipation surrounding the women’s Euros is beginning to build with just two days until England kick off their first match of the campaign.
A small buzz permeates the air around the North West especially with Leigh being the host city and Old Trafford hosting the opening game.
Sarina Wiegman’s England side is unbeaten in their last 14 games and the Lionesses go into the competition as favourites after their recent pre-tournament friendlies.
Although it may not see anywhere near the same hype as the men’s Euros, most people are aware of the tournament that is about to take place and the significance of it being held here in England.
There are 59 players taking part from 15 different countries who play for WSL clubs in the domestic season. Of those, seven play for Manchester United.
England: Mary Earps, Ella Toone, Alessia Russo
In the provisional squad, there were actually five United players training with the Lionesses but Katie Zelem and Lucy Staniforth missed out on the opportunity.
The three that made it into the squad have exceeded expectations though and have greatly impressed Wiegman in recent months. Mary Earps became her preferred choice of keeper when Ellie Roebuck was ruled out through injury earlier this season but has managed to keep her position despite Roebuck’s return.
A number of clean sheets for both club and country have helped her to stay in contention for the number one keeper spot after previously being dropped from the side and fearing she’d never play on the international stage again.
Ella Toone has featured in almost every game since Wiegman arrived and has already scored 11 goals including two hat-tricks in her fifteen appearances for the Lionesses.
She will no doubt be instrumental in the success of The Lionesses if she is on form and is one to follow closely.
Meanwhile, team-mate and best friend Alessia Russo has not been as involved in the England set-up as she’d like going into this tournament but featured in their last pre-tournament warm up, where she scored and was awarded Player of the Match.
Netherlands: Jackie Groenen
The Netherlands were the favourites to win the competition up until England thrashed them just a few days ago in a warm-up match. Don’t be fooled though, they have Vivianne Miedema in their squad and we all know how much damage she can do.
They also have United’s Jackie Groenen who has scored some pearlers in the past for Holland. She keeps the team together, a stable and secure midfielder who can anticipate thr runs and generate opportunities.
Their opening game will be against Sweden on the 9th July.
Norway: Maria Thorisdottir, Vilde Boe Risa
Boe Risa had a great season at United last year. Although she didn’t always start her skills were clear as she once again generated chances going forward whilst defending resolutely.
Meanwhile, Thorisdottir really began to settle at the club towards the latter stages of the season, stepping up to the task when the defence was wearing thin.
I don’t know Norway’s odd of winning but with these two in their squad they are sure to stand a great chance!
Spain: Ona Batlle
Batlle was voted United’s player of the season for the 20/21 season, her first season at the club and I’m not sure where they’d be without her.
Spain will face Finland on Friday 8th in their opening game of Group B.
Other players to keep an eye out for if you’re a United fan are Denmark’s Signe Bruun, who only left the club at the end of June. Also Rachel Daly, who plays for England, has been linked to a possible move to The Reds.
It is sure to be a fabulous tournament hosted here in the UK and we wish all our Reds the best of luck.