Mark Sampson: Flexible England can be a threat at the Euros

Friday 16 Sep 2016
Mark Sampson has guided his side to the Euro 2017 finals

Mark Sampson believes England’s tactical flexibility gives them a great chance of doing well at the European Championship.

The Lionesses eased to a 5-0 win over Estonia in their final Euro qualifier on home soil using a 3-5-2 formation, just as they did in the 8-0 win in Tallinn last September.

Sampson has set his team up in a number of different formations throughout this qualifying campaign and they have remained unbeaten in their seven matches, securing their place at the finals with a 7-0 win in Serbia in June.

England 5-0 Estonia

UEFA Women's Euro 2017
Group 7 qualifier
7.05pm BST, Thursday 15 September
Meadow Lane, Notts County

He said: “This is an England team who can play in various different ways.

“Over the course of this campaign we’ve seen an England team that was narrow, compact and very well organised defensively.

“And we’ve seen an England team [last night] and against Serbia which has used the flanks.

“And that’s important because we’re going to play against good teams in the European Championship who are going to cover certain spaces.

“Looking at the Olympics Games, the theme of women’s football seems to be that we’re all copying Leicester City in that [teams] sit in, bank up and try and hit on the counter-attack.

“We’re going to face that and we’re going to have to make sure we’ve got different weapons in our armoury to score goals against these teams.”

He continued: “[3-5-2] is a good option for us. We played it in Estonia as well and in the World Cup.

“It really helps us get some width on the game. We put so many crosses in [against Estonia] which shows we’re finding where the space is. We just need to be more clinical in terms of the quality of our crossing and the execution of the finish.”

Danielle Carter bagged a second consecutive England hat-trick in her second appearance with a Jill Scott header and a Karen Carney penalty completing the scoring at Meadow Lane.

And Sampson congratulated Arsenal youngster Carter on her treble.

He said: “It’s about having players that can win for England and Dan has worked to get herself into a position where she can help England win consistently.

“You can see now that she looks more athletic and there’s more aggression in her game. She’s putting her head in where it hurts which is really important to her game.

“She has always been excellent technically, she just needed to add those bits to her game. She looks confident, she looks aggressive and like she’s on a mission.

“Overall we have to be pleased. [We kept] a clean sheet which is important to us, [scored] five goals and [collected] three more points which gets us closer to topping this group.

“And we feel that we could have scored a lot more so that’s a good position to be in.”

England’s final qualifier is away to Belgium next Tuesday. As long as the Lionesses avoid defeat they will finish top of Group 7.

By Glenn Lavery