England manager Phil Neville has insisted that attacking pair Beth England and Lucy Staniforth were introduced to the action at the right time in his side’s international friendly against Brazil at The Riverside Stadium this afternoon.
The Lionesses lost the match 2-1 with a sluggish start to the second half being the contributing factor to their downfall.
With England struggling to create goalscoring opportunities during the second period, manager Neville waited until the 74th minute before introducing both Chelsea striker England and Birmingham City forward Staniforth to the action. England scored her first international goal and was a real thorn in the Brazilian side in the remaining 16 minutes.
Speaking to FA Women’s Super League Full-Time after the match, England boss Neville said that his double substitution was made at the right time despite some fans suggesting that the changes could have been made earlier.
“I think we brought them on at the right time” Neville insisted. “Beth made a brilliant impact.
“You think about the chances which we had in the first half, we just needed one of those to go in and we go on to win the game easily.
“I know that she (England) is a goalscorer but she has to be patient and has to get to the level of performance that we believe will get her a starting place but she is improving and we know that when we put her on the field, she will be in the right place, at the right time.
“She doesn’t need many chances to score goals, her performances for her club suggests that because she is a proven goalscorer.
“We felt that we brought them on at the right time and we changed the system, we got Beth on the field and she scored a really good goal and there was a little chance after that which she may feel that she should have scored as well.”
England have now conceded two or more goals in each of their last five games highlighting their defensive woes as an area where improvement is desperately needed. Neville admitted that his side have been working hard to eliminate their errors at the back, particularly from crosses into the box but they are still falling short of what is required.
He added “We’ve worked on it all week.
“Defending a cross is about concentration, there are probably three or four actions that determine whether a goal is being scored from a cross.
“At the moment, we are probably only doing one of those four actions and the action of picking someone up in the box or blocking a shot we are not quite doing.
“It is a wake up call for us that we can have all of the possession in the world but still, the fundamentals of football is keeping clean sheets.”
England now travel to Setubal where they will face Portugal on Tuesday evening.