England's USA invite proves Lionesses' progress

Tuesday 01 Mar 2016
Jodie Taylor has scored five goals in 15 internationals

England’s invitation to take part in the first-ever SheBelieves Cup is testament to the progress made over the last 12 months, says striker Jodie Taylor.

The Lionesses are in Tampa, Florida preparing for their opening match of this inaugural tournament against World Cup winners USA on Friday 4 March (12.45am GMT).

They will then fly to Nashville to face European champions Germany on Sunday 6 March (10.45pm GMT), followed by one final match against France on Wednesday 9 March (10pm GMT).

USA v England

The SheBelieves Cup
12.45am GMT, Friday 4 March
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
Live on BBC One

England’s opposition are the top three sides in the FIFA rankings [Mark Sampson's side are fifth], and Taylor believes rubbing shoulders with such esteemed company just seven months after finishing third at Canada 2015 will enhance her own country’s reputation.

She said: "It is the top three teams in the world, which is great for us.

"If this tournament had come this time last year a few people might have thought we’d be a little bit out of our depth.

"But it shows how far we have come. To even be invited to a tournament like this shows what the rest of the world thinks of us.

"We have got good results over the last year against some top, top teams, obviously beating Germany at the World Cup and then drawing 0-0 with them in November.

"This tournament will be a good test for us, but one I really believe we are ready for."

Taylor, who plays in the States for Portland Thorns, helped England win World Cup bronze last summer, scoring the opening goal in the quarter final win over the host nation.

The 29-year-old also played in the goalless draw with Germany in November – only the fourth time England have avoided defeat against the two-time world champions.

She added: "The draw in Germany was the start of us showing that our win over them in Canada wasn’t just a fluke.

"We want to put in more performances like that in this tournament to prove we are up there with the best."

England’s next home match will be their UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 qualifier against Belgium on Friday 8 April (7.55pm KO).

Tickets for the game, which will take place at Rotherham United’s AESSEAL New York Stadium, are on sale now priced £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. A family ticket (two adults and two children) is available at £10 and group booking discounts apply.

Tickets can be bought via TheFA.com/Tickets, by calling 08444 140 754 or in person at the Rotherham United ticket office.

By Glenn Lavery in Tampa, Florida