Sarina Wiegman is turning England into ruthless title contenders

Sarina Wiegman is turning England into ruthless title contenders
Sarina Wiegman is turning England into ruthless title contenders

Sarina Wiegman is turning England into ruthless title contenders

After Steph Houghton was dropped from the Euros squad, England manager showed a strong streak that is showing.

Sarina Wiegman seems to like repeating two words: ruthless, execution.

England’s manager always studs sentences in English with her favourites, as she encourages her players to show increased attacking incision. However, neither of these characteristics is unusual for a woman who is rarely inclined to dither indecision or sentimentality. Wiegman’s ability to think clearly under pressure allowed her to overlook some emotional reasons for including Steph Houghton, England’s former captain, in her strong Euro 2022 squad.

After a difficult conversation, Phil Neville’s successor said to the 34-year old Manchester City centre-half that her recovery from an Achilles tendon injury had not been sufficiently advanced to warrant inclusion in the elite group. She also stated that she was not going to be making it to the final round.

Leah Williamson, England’s new captain before the kick-off against Belgium in Molineux said that “The girls feel the pain Steph will feel.” It is something we share.

Although Williamson is only 25, she is still a young captain. However, Wiegman believes Williamson will be a worthy successor for Houghton. Williamson is also adaptable and well-suited for the in-game positional rotation that her national manager gradually introduces.

She was originally a defender for Arsenal but has now settled down to a midfield position with England.

England started to be the most dangerous down the wings, despite Belgium’s unbeaten record in seven previous games. They were able to isolate Keira Walsh, a central midfielder who was usually influential in Belgium. Although Bronze was occasionally let down by her final ball and she seemed unconcerned with creating alarming defensive gaps through overcommitting to attack sometimes, she played a key role in Chloe Kelly’s deflected shot that preceded the first goal. Lauren Hemp, on the other hand, was a constant petrified Belgian player from the left.

Hemp will certainly have a lot of influence if England wins a tournament next month. The Manchester City winger, along with Fran Kirby from Chelsea, is undoubtedly one of Wiegman’s two truly great players.

Kirby was sidelined for several months due to fatigue-related illness, but she is now fit and healthy. Even the most hardheaded manager will give Kirby the benefit of doubt because she is an attacking player who connects dots between midfield and frontline.

Kirby was indeed introduced in the second half, which already saw Kelly from Manchester City, who had just returned from a serious knee injury, move to the right of the front three. She suggested that Beth Mead could be pushed very hard for a starting spot.

Belgium is ranked 20th worldwide. It won’t be the last team that sits deep and smothers the Lionesses’s middlefield. So it was not surprising to hear Wiegman encourage Millie Bright try her luck at picking Kelly, Hemp, and other players with balls above the centre-half.

Neville was a pragmatic coach, but the coach who guided the Netherlands to Euro 2017 glory in 2017 is a pragmatist. He mixes and matches intricate passing with direct tactics. Walsh was finally freed by Alex Greenwood in her second half, a centre-half who wanted to step out of defense.

It’s no surprise that Rachel Daly, England’s coach, finds Rachel Daly’s versatility appealing. Daly’s amazingly assured goal-volleying technique reminded everyone, shortly after she was substituted at left-back, that striker is perhaps her strongest position.

Like Kirby and Kelly Daly staked claim to a starting position in a team that has won 10 games and drawn two, and scored 75 goals under Wiegman’s supervision. Although there are more difficult tests ahead, the managerial ruthlessness has been successful so far.

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