Steph Houghton and Millie Bright 'doubts' for England's World Cup quarter-final vs Norway
Last Updated: 27/06/19 9:16am
England Women manager Phil Neville says Steph Houghton and Millie Bright are "doubts" for their World Cup quarter-final against Norway in Le Havre on Thursday night.
Houghton was injured in the Lionesses' last-16 victory over Cameroon, while Bright is suffering from a virus which Neville said was "going through the camp a little bit".
Houghton did train on Wednesday following Neville's press conference, but Bright was absent with time running out to prove their fitness.
Centre-backs Leah Williamson and Abbie McManus could act as replacements, with the manager "relaxed" about the team's alternative options for the clash at the Stade Oceane. Both defenders have played in Neville's team this year.
"You guys have had an obsession with my rotation for the last 18 months," said the England boss.
"It's moments like this that we can say 'no problem', Steph, Millie, we just bring two people in that know the system, know the style, have got utter belief and confidence in each other and it's a seamless transition.
"You plan for these moments. We don't want to get to the quarter-finals and throw in young kids who are untested, so there has been a plan behind [the rotation]. It's moments like this I'm totally relaxed.
"I said from day one, only worry about those that can get on the bus. Those that can get on the bus are the fit ones and unfortunately in situations you're going to have injuries and it's opportunities for others."
On Bright's illness, he added: "She is in her room recovering.
"You're going to pick up bugs and, touch wood, we have not had any injuries and illness, apart from one or two. It's par for the course; it happens in life.
"She more than likely is going to be fit, but she's a doubt."
The Lionesses' have arguably faced more media scrutiny than ever before and Neville feels proud of how his team are handling the big stage.
"I think in the past you'd probably try and shield the players from it for fear of failure. But my girls don't have a fear of failure," he added.
"It's what they've grown up wanting. Three or four years ago we were crying out to get to these levels of attention and visibility. When we get here, we're not going to back off.
"We're going to embrace it and that's what my players have done.
"You've got an unbelievable set of human beings that are now where they want to be, where they've dreamed of and they're not going to back off and I think you'll see that tomorrow night on the pitch."