Women's Senior
Women's Senior

Nikita Parris eyes landmark SheBelieves Cup triumph ahead of World Cup

Monday 04 Mar 2019
Nikita Parris has scored 11 goals in 30 senior internationals

An historic triumph at the SheBelieves Cup is the perfect preparation for this summer’s World Cup, says England forward Nikita Parris.

The 24-year-old scored in the Lionesses’ 2-2 draw with USA on Saturday which leaves them just one victory away from lifting the prestigious SheBelieves Cup for the first time.

Phil Neville’s squad face Japan in Tampa on Tuesday in a winner-takes-all encounter.

England v Japan
  • SheBelieves Cup
  • 10.25pm GMT, Tuesday 5 March
  • Tampa, Florida
“This is the best preparation we could possibly have,” said Parris of the annual round-robin tournament.

“It’s like we’re getting to experience a mini-World Cup before the main event kicks off.

“Our aim is to win the tournament because winning the SheBelieves Cup can only breed confidence.

“Success builds momentum, which we’re hoping to take to France.”

‘Momentum’ is one word synonymous with Parris.

After being touted for stardom at a tender age, Parris came through the ranks at Everton and showed signs of fulfilling her potential in the Toffees first team, and in the England development teams, before being tempted away by the Manchester City revolution.

And she has certainly lived up to her early billing, becoming the top goalscorer in FA WSL history as well as plundering 11 goals in 30 games for her country.

Parris scored at the U20 World Cup in 2014 and at Euro 2017, but now she has got the big one on her mind.

“It would be a dream come true,” she said. “I think about it all the time.

“Everyone wants to stay fit and everyone wants to be performing well to give themselves the best chance of being in that 23.

“God willing I make the squad and hopefully I can have a good impact for the team.”

Parris added: “My best memory of 2017 was scoring at the European Championships. It’s probably one of my favourite memories of my career and one of my greatest achievements.

“Ultimately, you work so hard for that moment to arrive, and when it comes it’s so hard to explain what it feels like. You don’t even know how to celebrate.

“I can’t explain the feeling but hopefully it comes around again at the World Cup.

“You’ve got to be able to deliver in the big moments and the World Cup is surely going to bring plenty of them.”

England have lined up four home matches in the build-up to France 2019, against Canada and Spain in April, Euro 2017 runners-up Denmark in May and New Zealand on Saturday 1 June.

Tickets for all four matches are on sale now with children able to attend for just £1.


By Glenn Lavery