England's Nikita Parris is now in the world-class bracket, according to Phil Neville


Last Updated: 14/06/19 2:38am

Nikita Parris celebrates scoring for England in their Women's World Cup opener against Scotland

England boss Phil Neville says it is "a given now" that Nikita Parris is in the world-class bracket of the women's game.

Making her Women's World Cup debut as the Lionesses beat Scotland 2-1 in Nice on Sunday, Parris marked the occasion with a goal, confidently converting a 14th-minute penalty, and ended up with the player of the match award.

The 25-year-old Liverpudlian forward has netted 13 times in 35 England appearances, became the Women's Super League all-time top scorer last season, and in May left Manchester City to join six-time Champions League winners Lyon.

"She's world class, that's a given now," Neville said of Parris, the FWA Women's Footballer of the Year.

"She has got to keep scoring goals, she has got to keep improving.

Phil Neville believes Nikita Parris should be ranked among the best players in the world

"I have to say, at the start of the World Cup build-up, coming back from signing for Lyon, it was really difficult for her.

"The girl coming from Toxteth, going over to France, the stress of signing for a new club.

"I thought it affected her probably for the first five or six days of the camp, and that's why we played her in both games (friendlies against Denmark on May 25 and New Zealand on June 1), to get some rhythm.

"But this week she's turned up and ramped up the volume, and I thought she looked sharp.

"Her and Lucy Bronze down the right-hand side are going to be a real weapon for us."

Neville has also praised Jill Scott following Sunday's Group D clash at the Allianz Riviera.

Phil Neville reserved special praise for Jill Scott

Like fellow England midfielder Karen Carney, Scott, who played the full duration of the contest, is at her fourth World Cup.

And Neville said of the 32-year-old City player: "She was sensational. She has been for the last three games.

"She's irreplaceable. Her size, her quality, her energy on the pitch.

"She can play until she's 40. Her and Lucy Bronze are the quickest on the bleep test, quickest on the fitness test, never misses a training session. If you ask her to miss one, she goes absolutely mad at you.

"She's built like a marathon runner and that's why she's so fit. And 32 I think now is a young age for a midfield player.

"Yes, there will be times when we have to rest her, but her energy levels are frightening.

"She's a throwback to when players just go down injured and get up without moaning.

"She wins every tackle, wins every header, she slides, and she has real quality. She's infectious and she's a coach for me on the pitch, she really is.

"She knows how to play the game and that's why she has got another probably two or three tournaments left with me."