By Shafi Musaddique.
Jordan Nobbs' recent return to the England side has further strengthened the team that has been an unstoppable force ever since the appointment of Mark Sampson. To qualify for the World Cup finals, England will have to get past Wales and Reading goalkeeper Nicola Davies who has been in impressive form this season. Offside Rule's Shafi Musaddique caught up with Nobbs and Davies ahead of their crucial fixture tonight in Wales.
Ahead of England’s crunch World Cup qualifier against Wales on Thursday evening, midfielder Jordan Nobbs believes the Three Lionesses are frightening the international scene with a perfect blend of youth and experience.
Speaking to the Offside Rule Podcast, the Arsenal and England star suggested that the depth of England’s squad has created a newfound competitiveness within the camp, contributing to near supremacy on the road to Canada 2015. She said: “At every camp, you could not pick who will be selected because there are so many players you could choose from. I think it’s good for us, and as a midfielder I want to keep my place and play as many games as I can for England. What we need is youth, but we also need experience which we have with Lianne Sanderson, Fara (Williams) and Alex Scott. Fran(Kirby) and myself are 21, we’ve been able to play against Sweden and win so it shows that balance to our team now.”
Nobbs refers to the 4-0 rout of Sweden earlier in the month, a sure sign that the Lionesses can match the heavyweights of the game. Despite travelling across the country to play in different stadia, England’s women have impressed on their campaign by scoring an impressive 38 goals whilst only conceding one. With a 100 per cent record, her assessment of England’s ‘frightening’ ability is one which she feels is down to manager Mark Sampson being, “very set on what type of team he wants out.” She feels that depth in the England camp keeps her on her toes about being selected as, “it could be a completely different team each game – but it also shows the strength of our squad.”
Despite the roaring success of the Three Lions, Wales goalkeeper Nicky Davies believes they should not be underestimated in their ability to contain England’s attacking threat, after doing so for the majority of their 2-0 defeat to England in the reverse fixture.
“I think people were shocked at how long we held them for, and when we did concede they scored from sloppy mistakes from us,” she says, “They didn’t break us down then slot the ball in from six yards out. If we keep together in our units and keep communicating with each other, we’ll stand the best possible chance to keep a clean sheet.”
Since losing to England in October 2013, Wales have remained unbeaten taking them to their current position in second place – a sign that confidence in the Wales camp is at an all-time high. The steep rise should not be underestimated. Davies, who currently plays with Reading at club level, is happy with where her country is at the present moment. “The aim was second place minimum,” she said. “We’ve gone from fourth to fifth in the group, to competing with teams at the top of the group.”
Indeed, she elegantly pointed out that there has never been a better time to watch Welsh international football in both the men’s and women’s game.
Wales will go into Thursday’s clash at Cardiff, set to be screened live on free-to-air television, with hopes of securing a place in an elusive play-off spot against runners up from other groups. They’ll have to keep Sampson’s roaring Lions, on the cusp of qualification themselves, quiet if any dreams of Canada 2015 are to remain.
Can England continue their impressive 100% record with a victory in Wales tonight?
Read more from Shafi Musaddique here!