It’s all about the squad – Rachel Yankey knows Sarina Wiegman has options

·3 min read

Rachel Yankey has joked she would not want to be England boss Sarina Wiegman given the selection decisions she has to make heading into the home European Championship.

The Lionesses’ three warm-up matches ahead of the tournament, victories against Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland, saw substitutes and players that came in among starting line-up changes make significant contributions.

The opening fixture of their Euros campaign is on Wednesday when they face Austria at a sold-out Old Trafford.

And former England winger Yankey told the PA news agency: “I think the beauty of this England team is that it will be a squad. It’s all about the squad and I think the Switzerland game proved that, and pretty much all the warm-up games.

“I think it’s really hard to see who would be either starting or coming off (the bench) and making a big impact.

“There are so many players challenging, and so many players who can play in different positions. I wouldn’t like to be Sarina Wiegman at the moment to be honest!

“I just think there’s such strength in depth, whatever she wants to go with.”

Asked how she saw the chances of England – unbeaten in 14 matches with 12 wins under Wiegman, who guided the Netherlands to Euro 2017 glory – lifting the trophy this summer, Yankey said: “I think they have the talent, there’s a capability there.

“But then I look at this Euros and there’s so many other great teams that you could say the same about.

Rachel Yankey
Rachel Yankey played over 100 times for England (Nick Potts/PA)

“England are definitely up there – I think if they can stay grounded and happy and enjoying what they are doing in terms of using the crowd and (being at) home as an advantage rather than a burden, that could give them that extra lift and boost that sometimes you need.”

Yankey’s England career, featuring over 100 caps, included being part of the team that were hosts of the Euros in 2005.

The Arsenal great said: “I think it (this tournament) is huge. It was big (in 2005). I remember doing kit launches, the billboards.

“On our travels to the games I remember seeing pubs full of fans going to the game, and thinking ‘what’s going on?’ It was just a bit of a weird moment, because you’re not used to that.

“Now it will be everything like that, but just on a bigger scale. Especially with (things like) social media, you can really push on and get masses of exposure to the game.

“I think if the girls can go to the latter stages, go and win it, I think the perception – it has already started to change, but I think it will have a massive boost in changing people.

“The further the team go in the tournament and better they do, then people who don’t know anything about it will start supporting the team and really taking an interest.

“And it really does give girls the power to say ‘we can play, because look at Lauren Hemp’, or whoever, ‘they are going and doing their thing, and I want to do that’.”

Rachel Yankey
Yankey thinks England have a chance of winning the Euros (Madeleine Penfold)

Yankey was speaking as she helped Starling Bank launch a fantasy football game for the Women’s Euros, and she said: “It’s fantastic that we’ve got a fantasy football game.

“You are so used to seeing fantasy football games, you just imagine that there was one before, but there’s never been one. So it just shows another way that women’s football is improving.

“For fans it is something to, one, have a bit of fun with, but two, gain a greater knowledge of the women’s game and the players.”

:: For more information about Starling Bank’s fantasy football game for the Women’s Euros, see starlingbank.com.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting