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Three England players to watch at the 2019 Women's World Cup
England begin their World Cup campaign against Scotland on June 9
Last Updated: 03/06/19 2:19pm
England's preparations for the Women’s World Cup are nearly completed and optimism abounds that Phil Neville's team can do something special in France.
The Lionesses were victorious at the SheBelieves Cup in the United States, winning the tournament ahead of the top-ranked team in the world on their own turf.
England finished third last time around in the 2015 World Cup and while they are without key midfielder Jordan Nobbs, there are plenty of other potential stars in the squad.
Here, Nobbs talks us through the credentials of three World Cup debutants who could make the difference for Neville out in France this summer…
Nikita Parris was the top-scoring English player in this past season's Women's Super League and helped Manchester City to victory in both of the major domestic cup competitions as she continued her progression into one of the most talented forwards in Europe.
Having scored at the SheBelieves Cup and again in the warm-up game against Denmark, confidence should be high - particularly having secured a transfer to Lyon, the reigning Champions League winners, this summer. The 25-year-old will feel this is her time.
Nobbs says: "If she doesn't score at least one goal I would be very surprised. She is scoring goals for fun. She wants to score goals and she is very confident. She is becoming a world-class player and is going to be a huge player for us. When it comes down to it, this game is about scoring goals and, if we have a player like her in our front three, teams will be very frightened about letting her get a shot off."
Another to have enjoyed a fine season with Manchester City, Keira Walsh made her senior debut for her country in a World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan in November 2017 and the 22-year-old has since emerged as an important player during Neville's reign.
Nobbs says: "With Keira's technical ability, she is one of the best defensive midfielders in England. I think her last few games she has really shone and showed everyone how she can play against the top teams. Phil has given her that confidence and that game time.
"The way that we want to play, we need that midfielder who can make passes long and short. She created a goal for Beth Mead in the SheBelieves Cup with a 40-yard diagonal. We need players to step up and she has been one of those players. I hope I can play alongside her in the years to come."
Mead was another to make huge strides during England's successful tournament out in the States, having made her breakthrough under Neville. It was the 24-year-old's outrageous strike that won the game against Brazil and she was on target again against Japan as well.
A prolific scorer for Sunderland, Mead has adjusted to playing a wing role after moving to Arsenal and could be one to bring fresh impetus to this England side in France.
Nobbs says: "Beth showed a lot of confident at the SheBelieves Cup. She is one of those players who, when she is confident, she is one of the best wingers around. It's just a case of Beth believing in herself because I think she can be a scary winger at the World Cup. Phil is obviously pushing her and wanting her to be that player."
England's World Cup fixtures
England kick off their World Cup campaign against Scotland in Nice on June 9 before facing Argentina in Le Havre on June 14. They concluded the group by returning to Nice to face Japan, whom they beat in the SheBelieves Cup, on June 19. The top two in the group qualify automatically with the four best third-placed teams also going through to the last 16.