England manager Phil Neville is under pressure to select in-form Chelsea striker Beth England from the start when his side take on Japan in the second match of their SheBelieves Cup campaign at the Red Bull Arena in New York on Sunday evening.
The 25-year-old Barnsley-born goal machine is in the form of her life right now, scoring six goals in her last five matches for her club including two in last weekend’s 2-1 FA Women’s Continental League Cup final victory over Arsenal at The City Ground in Nottingham.
England is now on 21 goals in all competitions for her club while she has two in five for her country. Lionesses boss Neville is under severe pressure from the women’s footballing community to field the player from the start against Japan tomorrow after his side were toothless in a 2-0 defeat to SheBelieves Cup hosts the USA yesterday. England was brought on for just the last 12 minutes as the Lionesses looked completely lost against the world champions in Orlando.
The debate before the tournament was very much on whether to start England against the USA, with or instead of Manchester City forward Ellen White. Neville opted against selecting the forward against the Americans and his side were way below par, managing just three shots on target and never really looking like beating home keeper Alyssa Naeher.
With Neville under huge pressure after winning just two of his last nine matches, it is imperative that he selects his most in-form players against a Japanese side who have also failed to impress of late. Chelsea forward England must fall into that ‘in-form’ group.