- England coach Phil Neville has rotated heavily in every game so far
- Georgia Stanway made first Women's World Cup start against Japan
- 20-year-old made big impact, discusses Neville's approach
By Laure James with England
Georgia Stanway will hope she has rewarded Phil Neville’s faith, after having engineered a superb delivery for Ellen White’s opener against Japan last night. Her performance lit up Stade de Nice - yet the modest Cumbrian is prepared if she falls victim to another pack reshuffle.
The Manchester City forward was one of eight changes in the starting eleven from the side which started against Argentina. Neville’s rotational approach is designed to reflect the opposition, and shows the ‘perfect’ Lionesses line-up is a fluid concept. Yet with a carousel of talented players in his crop of 23, how does Neville keep morale high, when disappointment looms - and how significant will England’s depth be moving forward in this FIFA Women's World Cup™?
Stanway, 20, believes Neville’s tactic of picking his team days, rather than hours, ahead of a match helps.
“It gives you a few days to relax to settle into it, there’s nothing worse than being told hours before kick-off and getting worked up about it, thinking that you’re not prepared so it’s nicer to know in advance,” she explains. “I think as girls it can take longer to get over disappointment so you have a night to sleep on it and you’re fresher in the morning.
“Phil has the trust of everybody. Almost everyone has had the opportunity to get out on the pitch, there are some who haven’t had that yet but I am most certain that they’ll get their opportunity at some point and that shows the depth within our team. Whenever someone scores the whole bench leap up and everyone is celebrating together because we are one, whether you’re playing or not that is just the bond that we have within our team.”
With options in every position, Stanway believes the England head coach and his backroom staff have an impressive armoury moving forward in the tournament, to combat fatigue. The uncertainty of who England may face will mean Neville is doubling his homework hours to aid his selection, but Stanway says England are ready, whoever lies in wait.
“The World Cup is a mental game,” she said. “Obviously performances matter, but it’s always in your head, the recovery, training and the relatively long process between games. But we are looking forward to the challenge and the next opponent, we’ve a few days to recover and continue with the hard work. Bring on the next game!”