Returning Christiansen optimistic about Lionesses' future

Thursday 02 Jun 2016
Izzy Christiansen has scored two goals in six England appearances
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Isobel Christiansen is convinced England Women have a huge future ahead of them.

The recently-crowned PFA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year has returned from an ankle injury to be a part of Mark Sampson’s squad for a Euro qualifying double-header against Serbia.

The Lionesses are second in Group 7, a point behind Belgium but with a game in hand.

England v Serbia

UEFA Women’s Euro 2017
Group 7 qualifier
5.30pm, Saturday 4 June 2016
Adams Park, Wycombe Wanderers FC
Live on BBC Two
Tickets priced £7.50 adults, £3.50 children

They drew 1-1 with Belgium in April before narrowly defeating minnows Bosnia four days later.

But Christiansen believes her team-mates, ranked fourth in the world, will make it to next year’s finals and then really show their worth.

She said: “It’s an exciting journey we’re on. We’re aiming to qualify and hopefully two big wins this week will get us a little bit closer to our greater goal.

“We know that if we do qualify we’ve got a very strong group of players to go there.

“We want to go there and we want to win. We’ve got a fantastic group and it’s exciting to be part of it, which is why I’m so chuffed to be back in.

“The group we’ve got is hugely talented. We don’t like conceding goals, we’ve got strength in depth and all the makings of a great team.

“I’m very sure we’ll be in good stead heading into the Euros next year.”

The 24-year-old was forced to sit out for two months after injuring her ankle in an SSE Women’s FA Cup tie at Liverpool in March.

And after making such a bright start to her England career, scoring twice in her first six appearances, she was unavailable for the last two qualifiers.

But now she is fully fit, having recently returned to the City team, and is raring to go.

Christiansen said: “I’d like to think I’ve trained well this week. I’m feeling good.

“I’m glad to be training with the girls again and we’ve been getting some good sessions in.

“It’s fantastic to be back. I was chuffed to be picked again after coming back from that injury.

“It’s really great to be back in the environment. I love it here and I love playing for my country.”

Many outsiders expected England to rack up a cricket score against Bosnia last time out, but Sampson’s charges had to settle for Karen Carney’s 86th-minute winner.

Against Serbia, they are once again favourites to pick up comfortable back-to-back wins although Christiansen said she would be happy with any margin of victory.

She added: “A big scoreline would be nice and it would be a reflection on our teamwork and our confidence as a group of players and a group of staff.

“Nonetheless, a win is a win. Any win will do us because three points is three points.”

Tickets for the Serbia match at Wycombe on Saturday are still available, priced £7.50 for adults and £3.50 for children. A family ticket priced £15 (two adults and two children) is also available.

Tickets can be bought via TheFA.com/Tickets or by calling 01494 441 118
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By Glenn Lavery at St. George's Park