Home ยป Katie Zelem could be called upon as Lionesses injury woes continue

Katie Zelem could be called upon as Lionesses injury woes continue

by Zoe Hodges

As Keira Walsh left England’s second group game on crutches on Friday, attention turned to who could replace such a vital part of the Lionesses squad.

Although the injury doesn’t seem to be as bad as first feared, she will definitely miss tomorrow’s game against China.

City’s Laura Coombs finished out the game against Denmark in her place but the Lionesses performance fell flat after that.

United’s Captain Katie Zelem was expected to spend much of the tournament on the bench, but with the injury to Walsh, she could be called upon to play a slightly more active role in this team.

She fought off competition from Aston Villa’s Lucy Staniforth to make the squad, having been pushed out of the final 23-player selection for the Euros last year.

She has only made eight appearances for England and hasn’t been a mainstay in Sarina Wiegman’s set-up.

However, she is used to being a pivot player at club level and could be a strong replacement for Walsh.

She connects the attack and defence effortlessly for Manchester United and has a good passing accuracy.

Furthermore, she is a set-piece specialist, a number of key goals for the Reds came from Zelem’s free-kick and corner deliveries last season.

Other options include Jordan Nobbs, who is more experienced at International level and Coombs again.

However, Emma Sanders from the BBC predicts that Wiegman may be forced to change formation “from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-1-3 with two holding midfielders doing Walsh’s job, leaving either Ella Toone or Lauren James to be creative as a number 10.”

Either way, space has opened up for Zelem as she now enters these conversations. Could she be England’s hero?

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