England’s Young Lionesses will play their first competitive match in almost 18 months on Friday 30 July. They take on the Czech Republic at AFC Telford’s New Bucks Head with fans in attendance.
England U19 head coach Lydia Bedford has been working with the players on a camp at St George’s Park. This is predominately a new group of players who will be raring to go.
The match will give much-needed preparation before the 2021/22 UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship campaign starts in October. In that qualifying round, England will come up against Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and Switzerland. The Championship finals will take place, coincidentally in the Czech Republic, from June 27th to July 8th, 2022.
The Czech Republic will offer a stern test for the Young Lionesses who also haven’t played a competitive match since March 2020. Last time out, the Czechs held Austria U19 to a 0-0 draw.
Five players to watch
There are 25 players participating in the training camp. Here are five players who could well play a key role on Friday.
Emily Murphy (University of North Carolina)
Emily Murphy recently made the move from Chelsea to play in the States for UNC. Last season, Murphy was on loan to Birmingham City where she played a vital role in helping the Blues avoid relegation. She typically plays up front on either wing.
Anouk Denton (University of Louisville)
Anouk Denton has also recently made the move to play in the United States. The highly-rated defender previously played for Arsenal Academy. Last season, Denton was loaned out to West Ham United and she scored her first senior goal in the FA Cup away to Manchester City.
Zoe Barratt (Ipswich Town)
Zoe Barratt started her career at MK Dons before making the move to Ipswich Town in 2019. Under the guidance of Joe Sheehan and Charlie Baxter, Ipswich U21s finished an impressive 4th place in the WSL Academy league.
Barratt is another forward known for her goal-scoring abilities.
Neve Herron (Sunderland)
Neve Herron is a talented player who can play anywhere across the back four. Left-back, centre-back, right-back and even in centre midfield if called upon. She has played at the top level in the FA Cup against Birmingham City.
The 18-year-old full-back can also hit the ball from range, scoring more than one 30-yard worldies from the flanks.
Maria Edwards (Manchester United)
Maria Edwards has scored goals all her life. Before joining United she was in the Manchester City Academy where, in 2014-15, she scored 70 goals in just 24 games. She continued this trait at Charlotte Healy’s United team before being loaned out to Blackburn Rovers where she won the Young Player of the Year award.
Where to watch
The match takes place on Friday, July 30th, with a kick-off time of 11:30 BST. Fans can obtain tickets directly from AFC Telford.