Connect with us

England

Phil Neville leaves the door open for non-English born players

Having named a squad of 20 for the upcoming friendlies against Portugal and Brazil, Phil Neville has called up a further three players for training including American-born Alana Cook. Cook is the second American citizen the coach has brought into the England fold following on from Chioma Ubogagu who switched allegiances from the USA to England.

Although Cook is 22-years-old, as a product of the American collegiate system she is yet to get a look at the senior level, having most recently represented the USA under-23s. Foregoing the NWSL draft, the defender was signed by Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the year and is still finding her feet in the squad.

Clearly on the radar for a while, Neville has stayed true to the studious approach he boasted when he first took the reins and had a lot of catching up to do. As he said,

We with go through the process just as we did with Chi Ubogagu, I had watched Chi for a long time and thought ‘there is something there, a left footer, a winger’, we are light in those areas. You have to do your own work your due diligence, see them play and see what their character is like to become part of this squad and Alana has earnt the right to come and train with us and when you are playing in quarter finals of the Champions League at her age and being one of the best players – I think she has the pedigree to become an England international.”

Mentioning the Cook had spoken to the English internationals at Lyon when the two teams have sparred, Neville admitted that both himself and Bev Priestman have been dealing directly with the player and her coach at PSG.

We have fed back to her at all times on her performance and where she is in my thinking. It is difficult when you get a dual nationality player because you have to respect the players that have come through the pathway and been on the journey. You have to feel they really really want it to pull on this badge and she has never wavered from the first time I spoke to her. It’s myself who has made her wait longer than she has wanted to let her earn the opportunity to train with us, I could have named her in the squad but I wanted to come in and earn the opportunity to pull on that England jersey and she has done that, she is a great player and a great character.

Squad: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Mary Earps (Manchester United), Beth England (Chelsea), Alex Greenwood (Lyon), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Aoife Mannion (Manchester City), Abbie McManus (Manchester United), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Nikita Parris (Lyon), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Jodie Taylor (Reign FC), Carly Telford (Chelsea), Keira Walsh (Manchester City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal).

Training players: Alana Cook (PSG), Mel Lawley (Liverpool), Chloé Kelly (Everton).

More in England