Opinion: Why Nikita Parris Lyon move could have major impact on England career

Nikita Parris

Hege Riise has announced her squad ahead of the latest Lionesses camp. The interim manager has made her choices as the England international team get ready to play out two friendlies next month. In further preparation for their hosting of the Euros, they will face France and Canada on 9th and 13th April respectively.

Riise has already shown she is willing to give younger players a chance to prove themselves on the international stage. Rising Women’s Super League talents like Ebony Salmon and Niamh Charles have been handed the baton as they look to establish themselves as senior members of the England set up.

Familiar faces have also been included, as to be expected, but one reliable England figure who has been left out of the squad is Nikita Parris.

The forward will now miss her second consecutive Lionesses camp due to Covid-19 restrictions at Lyon. The French champions blocked her call up last time round in order to comply with pandemic regulations, but she also misses out this time after several first team players returned positive coronavirus tests.

Whilst this is a situation that cannot be helped, it could gravely impact Parris’ England career moving forward.

A depth of talent waiting

Parris has established herself as one of the Lionesses’ most influential players over the years. Her impressive WSL goalscoring record – beaten only by Vivianne Miedema in October 2020 – stood for two years after she clocked up 49 goals in her career in the league. 

Equipped with pace, passion and finesse in front of goal, the Liverpool-born striker has become one of the game’s most influential attackers. However, after embarking on her new chapter in France, she has slipped a little under the radar despite still putting in clinical performances for Lyon.

Former Olympique Lyonnais player Izzy Christiansen left the D1 champions to return to the WSL in search of more regular playing time. Since her move, she has become untouchable at new club Everton as she continues to rock the ‘goalscoring midfielder’ label.

Nikita Parris celebrates with England

Whilst receiving interest from the world’s most successful club is the highest form of flattery as a footballer, moving to Lyon has also showcased its downside. The heavy squad depth at the club can never guarantee regular minutes in the tank, which often sees players dropped from the team despite being high quality performers.

Parris runs the risk of slipping off England’s radar if she falls victim to Jean-Luc Vasseur’s squad rotation. The 27-year-old is already heavily contested for her spot in the Lioness camp, with proven seniors as well as as budding young forwards continuing to impress the new management. 

Riise has the bittersweet dilemma of deciding who makes the cut out of the country’s ever-growing list of attackers. Ellen White, Bethany England and Beth Mead are just three of England’s already proven forwards, with the likes of Chloe Kelly, Lauren Hemp and Ebony Salmon now also applying the heat.

With two absences already against her, Parris could be sweating as she watches her role in England potentially be filled by another player. With no international training as of late under her belt either, a spot in the Team GB squad could also be in jeopardy.

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