Lucy Staniforth hopes to have England future as she prepares to leave camp

By Sports Desk July 23, 2023

England standby Lucy Staniforth hopes she has done enough to give boss Sarina Wiegman a future selection headache after scrapping her holiday plans to join the Lionesses for just over a fortnight in Australia.

The Aston Villa midfielder had already planned an Ibiza holiday with her mum when she learned she would need to pack her bags for a completely different destination, joining Manchester United defender Maya Le Tissier as one of two back-ups for Wiegman’s World Cup squad Down Under.

Sunday marked a bittersweet morning for both women, who have trained with the squad since mid-June but knew their time with the team had come to a close after England were deemed fully fit ahead of their 1-0 victory over Haiti.

Staniforth, who was called in to replace injured standby Jess Park, said: “In the back of my mind coming in, you want to take every opportunity you can to put yourself in Sarina’s plans and I still feel like I have got so much to contribute to the group.

“I just hope I can continue in the form I was in last season, and I am looking forward to the next internationals. Hopefully I can be in with a shout of being in the squad because I’m not finished yet. I’ve still got so much more that I want to achieve and contribute to this team. I would love to play a part in the future.

“I think the overriding feeling right now is a little bit of sadness and pride, I guess. I am sad to be leaving the group, the girls, the tournament. It has been a wonderful experience but, ultimately I am really proud of myself.

“It is a different position to step into – drop your whole life and everything, and jump at a chance to come and work with the group. I am just really proud that I came at it with a great attitude and hopefully contributed to the team.

“I didn’t want to come into an environment and leave it and no one notice that you have gone. You always want to try and make a mark. Whether that is on the training pitch or being a good team-mate and I am obviously happy that Sarina has noticed that I have managed to do both.”

During one special training session on the Sunshine Coast, Staniforth was presented with her England legacy cap by Paddy McGroarty, a member of the 1972 squad now living in Melbourne.

Staniforth said that while “the ship has sailed” on the Ibiza holiday with her mum, she plans on making up for the lost leisure time by turning tourist with Le Tissier before both head home to the UK to get ready for their club seasons.

The PA news agency understands that the Republic of Ireland’s training players Sophie Whitehouse, Harriet Scott and Jamie Finn will in contrast remain with their group for the remainder of the tournament despite the deadline for their call-up having passed.

England staff have booked the departing standby duo a trip to walk across Sydney’s Harbour Bridge as a ‘thank you’ for their contribution, which included providing valuable competition and back-up in training.

Le Tissier, 21, said: “I think obviously when the call came that I wasn’t part of the 23, I could have taken it in both ways – either in a negative way or think I’ve got an opportunity to go and be a part of the team. Even though it was really hard to come in the first day, I wanted to make the most of it.

“We have not felt like outsiders at all. The staff and Sarina have been great with me, I have never once felt I wasn’t part of the team (and) I have loved working with everyone here.”

Should England reach a first World Cup final on August 20, they would have just over a month between the trophy match in Sydney and their September meeting with Scotland to open the Nations League, which also acts as a qualifying tournament for next summer’s Olympics in Paris.

Le Tissier added: “That is something to try and aim for if I can. They will be big games.”

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