England will want to brish aside any doubts of their quality at the 2023 Women’s World Cup when they face Denmark in Group D on Friday.
The Lionesses surged to Euro 2022 glory last summer, but with injuries to key players and retirements of leaders in the dressing room, the side certainly weren’t at their best in their first match of the tournament.
The question to now ask is will Sarina Wiegman will go against her usual unwavering confidence in her selection and actually tinker with the starting XI against Denmark?
GK: Mary Earps – Showed just how crucial she is to the side with two big saves against Haiti to keep a clean sheet.
RB: Lucy Bronze – Brings experience after playing in two prior World Cups in 2015 and 2019. Can hurt Denmark from the flanks and even has a record of scoring spectacular goals against Nordic opposition at this level, as Norway can attest to.
CB: Millie Bright (c) – Temporarily taking over the captaincy from Leah Williamson, she grew into the game against Haiti – her first competitive match since her knee injury in March.
CB: Alex Greenwood – Could see a shift from left-back to better complement Bright.
LB: Jess Carter – Perhaps gettings the nod at left-back as the most defensive option on the flank against the team that is likely to pose the biggest attacking threat to England in the group stage.
CM: Georgia Stanway – Scored the penalty for England against Haiti, and offers both versatility and bite in midfield for the Lionesses.
CM: Keira Walsh – Struggled to play her game against Haiti after Melchie Dumornay effectively stifled her. Still the best option against Denmark, but the worry is that opposing have figured out you can more or less stop England by marking Walsh out of the game.
AM: Ella Toone – Not at her best against Haiti, but there is no true number 10 to displace her.
RW: Lauren James – Can bring more dynamism and pace to the flanks than Chloe Kelly, and just in overall better form at the moment.
ST: Alessia Russo – While Rachel Daly may be the better option, it’s hard to imagine that Wiegman will drop Russo, especially when Daly can come on as a substitute.
LW: Lauren Hemp – Played some good crosses against Haiti, but should be producing more in front of goal for a player of her obvious ability.