England and Manchester City defender Alex Greenwood has admitted that she is delighted to be looking forward to competitive football with the Lionesses after what feels like an eternity since their last international fixture.
England’s last fixture came in the form of a 1-0 loss to Spain at the 2020 SheBelieves Cup nearly a year ago but they are now looking forward to taking on Northern Ireland in an international friendly match this week. A lot has changed since the Lionesses’ last fixture, not least the departure of former head coach Phil Neville and the arrival of Norwegian coach Hege Riise who has filled the vacancy on an interim basis until new permanent head coach Sarina Wiegman arrives in the summer.
Speaking during an England media day in which FAWSL Full-Time were present, Greenwood commented on what she believes will be a promising new era for the Lionesses.
“A new coach coming in is a fresh start and a reset,” said Greenwood. “We’re all really grateful for what Phil Neville did; I’m especially grateful for what he did for me and for my career but now we have a new set of staff to work with and we have a really exciting group of young players.”
Greenwood has certainly impressed this season for her club, proving her versatility as she has performed to a high-standard at both left-back and in the centre of the defence as The Citizens have mounted a strong challenge for the Barclays FA Women’s Super League title. After being rewarded for her performances at club level with her latest England call-up, the Liverpool-born defender is now just four appearances short of reaching a half-century of caps with the Lionesses, a feat which she is taking in her stride.
“Coming up to fifty caps, now that in itself has a responsibility,” Greenwood said. “I’ve been around long enough now to have expectations of others and to demand standards and to make sure that when we’re all with England, we’re all training to our full potential.”
With the Olympic Games, the UEFA Women’s EURO and a FIFA Women’s World Cup on the horizon, Greenwood could be competing for international silverware during the next three summers, a prospect that she is really excited about.
“It’s a really exciting time,” she added. “The likes of myself and the rest of us have a duty to make the youth realise what’s ahead, we all know it’s not going to be plain sailing.
“The competitions we have in the next few years are massive, the expectations we have on ourselves to get a medal in all of them is something we’re all going to embrace and enjoy.
“To put on an England shirt and to represent your country, nothing else really compares to it.”
England take on Northern Ireland in their international friendly fixture at St George’s Park on Tuesday afternoon. The game will kick-off at 12.30pm and will be available for fans to watch live on the BBC Red Button and on the BBC iPlayer.
Article author: Dominic Pendleton