England are back in action on Tuesday as they host Northern Ireland under the watchful eye of interim manager Hege Riise.
It’ll be the first time that the Lionesses have played a competitive game in almost a year, with their last fixture being a 1-0 loss to Spain at the 2020 SheBelieves Cup back in March.
Leading the line that day was Manchester City’s Ellen White, a player who is looking forward to new beginnings under the current England management team following former boss Phil Neville’s resignation last month.
When speaking at England’s media day in which FAWSL Full-Time were present, White said “It’s something fresh, something different. It’s a new England squad, it’s a different manager, a very condensed tight squad, a very competitive squad.
“I think firstly we need to focus on working hard, training hard and really understanding the philosophy that Hege wants to bring to this squad.
“We need to learn and adapt at the same time but at the moment, I think we need to look forward. We’ve got a massive Olympics coming up and a big game in Northern Ireland as well.”
Riise is set to be involved with Team GB at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, but the role she’ll be playing is still unknown. The Norwegian’s England squad includes six uncapped players, all of whom will be hoping to get their first appearances against Northern Ireland on Tuesday. For those who do, it’ll be a different experience with the game being played behind-closed-doors and at St George’s Park.
With White being one of the more experienced players in the squad, she knows how memorable a debut can be, and she is hoping that she can help that feeling remain for the potential debutants even in these different circumstances.
She said “It’s a phenomenal achievement, something that you’ll remember forever.
“I always remember my debut, it’s an absolute dream to play for your country.
“Not only to be selected for a camp or a training camp, but to then actually gain a cap, so we’ll 100% be making it as special as possible.”
Amongst those who could win their first cap is Bristol City’s Ebony Salmon, who was just seven years of age the last time the two sides met in 2008. Salmon received a late call-up to the squad but will undoubtedly be pushing the likes of White for a place in the team having starred all season for The Robins in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.
England’s international friendly fixture against Northern Ireland kicks-off at 12.30pm on Tuesday with the game being broadcast live on the BBC Red Button and on the BBC iPlayer.
Article author: Will Tyrer