Experience lacking in Sarina Wiegman’s World Cup 2023 squad

By Sports Desk May 31, 2023

England manager Sarina Wiegman has named her squad for this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Sixteen of the 23-player contingent were part of the team that won Euro 2022, but there are some notable absentees through injury, form or retirement.

Here, the PA news agency compares the two squads.

Experience

Wiegman’s World Cup squad is far less experienced than her Euro 2022 selection, with a total of 733 caps at an average of 32 per player compared with 973 – 42 per player – among their predecessors.

Six players have fewer than 10 caps, compared with only four of last year’s contingent, while another half-dozen have amassed at least 50 caps – versus nine of the Euros squad.

Four of the five most-capped players who featured at Euro 2022 – Jill Scott (157), Ellen White (107), Demi Stokes (67) and Nikita Parris (65) – have retired or been overlooked this time, with Lucy Bronze (104) now leading the way ahead of Alex Greenwood (74).

Captain Leah Williamson, Beth Mead and Fran Kirby are also absent through injury, while – of the seven new faces – only Jordan Nobbs (71) has more than 10 caps to her name.

As a result of the influx of new players, the average age of England’s squad has fallen slightly since the Euros, from 26.9 to 26.4.

Brighton’s 20-year-old winger Katie Robinson is the youngest player to be selected, ahead of Chelsea’s Lauren James (21).

Manchester City midfielder Laura Coombs is the oldest at the age of 32.

Goals

The Lionesses are not at full strength in attack, with those going to the World Cup having scored a combined 114 goals at international level compared with their predecessors’ 202.

Season-ending injuries to Mead and Kirby, as well as White’s retirement, have limited Wiegman’s options in forward areas.

Manchester United duo Ella Toone and Alessia Russo – who starred as substitutes in the last tournament – are likely to feature from the start in Australia and New Zealand, while Aston Villa’s Rachel Daly – who top scored in the Women’s Super League having switched from her previous full-back position – provides another option up front.

However, there remains a shortfall elsewhere in the squad, with seven outfield players having never scored for England compared with just two of the side that won the Euros.

The absence of key attackers has led to a decline in England’s scoring output since Euro 2022. The Lionesses have netted 32 goals in their last 11 matches at an average of 2.91 per game, as opposed to 106 in their first 20 outings under Wiegman at a rate 5.30 per game.

Club representation

There are nine clubs represented in England’s World Cup squad, compared with only six at Euro 2022.

Manchester City have provided six players, down from 10 last time but still the most of any club ahead of WSL champions Chelsea and runners-up Manchester United on four apiece.

Meanwhile, Arsenal – the other team involved in this season’s thrilling title race – have only one representative in Lotte Wubben-Moy.

The rest of the squad is made up of three players from Aston Villa, two from Barcelona and one from Bayern Munich, Brighton and Tottenham.

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