Back in December, we put together a team of 18 (with four reserves) that we thought best reflected what Phil Neville would do and who he would pick for the Tokyo Olympics.
It was a group without bias from the writer but an endeavour inside the mind of the current England coach, we received a range of feedback about the selection – which was very welcome! And as it was requested, we’ve put together the team we would take to the Olympics (if they still go ahead) that is more about form.
In our original team we outlined logistical problems facing Team GB, such as limited time together – likely to be just one or two friendlies before the tournament in Japan starts. Understanding – if you’re going to have Steph Houghton and Leah Williamson then Jennifer Beattie who has spent time playing in the defence with both, would make a logical option. Flexibility – with the reduced squad size, bringing players that can operate in more than one role like Rachel Daly and Lisa Evans could be the make or break factor for them. As well as the fact would be looking for the players that best fit his system and ideas.
The ultimate caveat for the following team is that we’re living in a slightly fantastical world in which the group in question magically gel without serious time together on the pitch. And that the younger players with little tournament experience aren’t hampered by their inexperience and all find their best form.
As said the group is more reflective of form meaning players who are currently injured aren’t in consideration, so no Jess Fishlock, Beth Mead, Aoife Mannion etc. Lastly, those picked were picked for their talents not their nationalities.
Goalkeepers: Hannah Hampton, Ellie Roebuck
Defenders: Gemma Bonner, Millie Bright, Lucy Bronze, Lisa Evans, Poppy Pattinson, Leah Williamson.
Midfielders: Rachel Furness, Sophie Ingle, Jordan Nobbs, Kiera Walsh.
Attackers: Erin Cuthbert, Beth England, Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly, Nikita Parris, Ellen White.
Reserves: Lee Alexander, Leah Galton, Hannah Godfrey, Jill Scott.
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