Hope Powell praises younger players after display against world champions Japan
England 1-1 Japan
A Women's International
1.45pm, Wednesday 26 June 2013
Pirelli Stadium, Burton Albion FC
Hope Powell hailed the younger members of her England squad after they helped secure a 1-1 draw with World Cup holders Japan at Burton Albion.
Eniola Aluko put the Three Lions ahead with a smart finish just before the break, but Nahomi Kawasumi levelled matters on 76 minutes, ensuring England will head to the Euro Finals on Monday high in confidence.
In Jade Moore, Toni Duggan, Jordan Nobbs and debutant Lucy Bronze, Powell fielded four of her less experienced senior team players and she was delighted with the way they coped against such a talented side.
The National Coach said: "I'm pleased with the fact that we competed well against the world champions.
"I made quite a few substitutions and quite a few of the younger players played and they managed themselves very, very well.
“The depth in our squad is getting better. There's no foregone conclusion who's going to start and who's going to finish. We have a nice balance and a lot of cover and I think we'll need it going into a major tournament."
Powell also spoke of the importance of international tournament football. Fourteen of her 23-strong squad have featured in at least three senior tournaments, while five of the younger contingent won the U19 Euros in 2009.
Powell added: "Tournaments are very, very different to a one-off match. But a lot of players have had that experience, even the younger players.
"Toni Duggan, Lucy Bronze, Jordan Nobbs, Gemma Bonner, Jade Moore - they've won a European Championship, they understand tournament play, so when they come on the pitch they know what to expect and they manage themselves well.
She continued: "Today was a decent result. The players now recognise they can play Japan and not lose, play [USA] and win. We are difficult to beat. We are not always going to win but we are difficult to beat and that goes a long way. The players have got the desire to succeed and that's important.
"The girls are disappointed they conceded such a sloppy goal, but hopefully we'll learn from it. We build on it and we go forward now.”
England have one more friendly, against Euro hosts Sweden, on Thursday 4 July before they take on Spain in their opening group match on Friday 12 March.