Women's Senior
Women's Senior

Phil Neville lauds entire squad after much-changed England secure top spot

Wednesday 19 Jun 2019
Phil Neville has steered England into the knockout stages of France 2019

England’s 2-0 victory over Japan highlighted the strength of their 23-player World Cup squad, said head coach Phil Neville.

The 42-year-old made eight changes from Friday’s 1-0 win over Argentina, handing first tournament starts to Demi Stokes, Georgia Stanway and Rachel Daly.

The recalled Ellen White, in for Jodie Taylor, was the star of the show with her match-winning brace, her second and third goals of the tournament, allowing the Lionesses to progress to the last 16 as group winners.

Japan 0-2 England
  • FIFA Women's World Cup
  • Group D
  • Wednesday 19 June
  • at Stade de Nice, France
Neville said: “We profile every player. It depends on what team we're playing. There are certain players who are our experts in certain games.

“We need to know which team we're playing, then decide how they play, how we're going to beat them and see the players which fit the profile the best.

“That's what rotation is about. It's not about throwing 23 players into a hat and pulling out 11. We strategically plan each rotation. Sometimes if you make more than five you suffer in the rhythm and the flow and I think we did that tonight.

“We knew that at times we were going to suffer but I think it was a game that we needed to have to keep us focused.”


Although White was named player of the match, Neville reserved a word of praise for 20-year-old Stanway who impressed against the 2011 world champions and 2015 runners-up.

Stanway top-scored at last year's U20 World Cup and she also starred at the U17 equivalent in 2016.

This is her first experience of a senior international tournament but the Manchester City schemer is seemingly taking it all in her stride.

Neville added: “When we named the team I think she was a bit surprised, she looked a bit nervous. What we said to her was 'pretend that you're playing in the park at home with your friends', because that's where she's at her best.

“When we couldn't get rhythm and flow she looked like the one who was enjoying it, a big smile on her face. She came off near the end, she was happy.

“She's going to be one of those young players, if she keeps working hard, she's going to be one of the best players in world football. She's got that potential.”

He continued: “The objective was to win the game, get the three wins and top the group - we've done that.

“We needed this game I think to have a different test and we got that. Some of our play in the first half was fantastic, but in the second half a few of the players that maybe hadn't played as much got a little bit tired. But it's job done and we're looking forward to the last 16.”

England will discover their second-round opponents when Groups E and F are concluded on Thursday night. Neville's charges will face the third-place team from either Group B, E or F.

The last-16 clash will take place in Valenciennes at 4.30pm BST on Sunday 23 June.

By FA Staff