Bassett buoyed by the Cyprus Cup and happy England squad

Tuesday 04 Mar 2014
Laura Bassett is revelling in the positive England Women's camp

Laura Bassett has talked up the importance of the Cyprus Cup ahead of England’s opening tournament game against Italy on Wednesday.

The Three Lions have won this annual friendly competition twice, in 2009 and 2013, and the Chelsea defender believes another positive campaign can be the platform to collect three World Cup qualifying points against Montenegro in April.

This will be Mark Sampson’s first experience of tournament football as England’s new Head Coach.


England v Italy

The Cyprus Cup
3.30pm GMT, Wednesday 5 March
Larnaca, Cyprus



Bassett said: "First and foremost, we know a good Cyprus Cup campaign, certainly in terms of performances, can be a good way for us to kick on ahead of the qualifiers we’ve got coming up.

"It’s a competitive environment and every team is out to win it so it’s not just a case of going through the motions.

"It also acts as a great top-up fitness-wise towards the end of pre-season. It helps us get our match sharpness back, so it’s a great tournament for players to get minutes under their belt."

Bassett and her England team-mates arrived in Larnaca on Friday and they will have enjoyed four training sessions by the time they take on the Italians, who they defeated 4-2 in last season’s Cyprus Cup.

And the 30-year-old has been encouraged by the upbeat atmosphere in the squad.

She added: "Everyone has been really positive in the camp. We’re all going around with smiles on our faces both on and off the pitch.

"It’s a relaxed atmosphere and people are really expressing themselves in a positive manner.

"We’ve spent quite a bit of time in the meeting room which we understand. We’ve got a new management team and there’s a lot of new information we need to take board.

"We know it’s going to be a long process to understand everything they want us to do, but we’ve been picking up little bits of information as we work towards the bigger picture and I think that’s been very helpful to us all.

"We can’t wait to get started now."

Kelly Smith has been recalled to the squad for the first time since Euro 2013 while former youth internationals Alex Greenwood and Lizzie Durack could make their Senior team debuts in Cyprus.

After Italy, Sampson's charges will face Finland on Friday and Canada next Monday.


By Glenn Lavery Larnaca, Cyprus