England: 3 ways new Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman could set up for her first match

Sarina Wiegman

A new era has dawned on the Lionesses – a statement changing of the guard sees respected head coach Sarina Wiegman take on a new challenge.

The former Netherlands manager signed a four-year deal with England last summer, but was not due to start her new role for another year. Norwegian legend Hege Riise stepped in on interim duties during the 12-month period.

Now Wiegman is finally in the building, it’s time to see what the first non-British permanent manager can do with the Lionesses.

Wiegman’s first camp with England will be two World Cup qualifying matches against North Macedonia and Luxembourg. The double fixtures will allow the new boss time to experiment with her squad and find the right balance between the senior and young players she has called up.

GiveMeSport Women has put together three potential lineups Wiegman could opt for in these matches.

The Seniors (5-2-3)

Senior England Lionesses XI

England are stacked with experienced players who have enjoyed competing at the World Cup and the Olympics. 

Former manager Phil Neville’s staple was to opt for the more senior players during game days. 

Wiegman could certainly field a safe team with tried and tested personnel while she finds her feet with her new side.

A back five would see the defensive trio of Steph Houghton, Millie Bright, and Leah Williamson protect Carly Telford’s goal – who has struggled for minutes in both an England and Chelsea shirt as of late.

GMS Giveaway


Out of the two left-backs selected, Demi Stokes just pips Alex Greenwood on experience – having made 56 appearances for England and three for Great Britain. 

Nikita Parris and Beth Mead would link up nicely after enjoying their WSL opening weeks together at Arsenal, and the ever-present Ellen White essentially picks herself.

The Youth (4-4-2)

Predicted England Youth XI

England boast some incredible young players who have all earned their spot on the roster thanks to standout performances at domestic level.

The likes of Lauren Hemp and Ella Toone have been trailblazers for their respective clubs and will definitely be eyeing up a permanent place on the team-sheet.

Lauren Hemp

Ebony Salmon has been lighting up the NWSL since her move to Racing Louisville and will be looking to put pressure on the likes of White and Parris as the Lionesses’ senior striker. 

Niamh Charles is currently being tried as a right-back under Emma Hayes at Chelsea and could be utilised in the same position for England after recently earning her first cap.

Niamh Charles and Sam Kerr

Katie Zelem is yet to make a senior appearance for the Lionesses and this camp could be her chance. The Man United could benefit from playing alongside club teammate Lucy Staniforth, who may be 28 years old but is still relatively inexperienced, with just 16 caps to her name.

The Experimental (4-3-3)

England Experimental XI

These camps are all about experimenting with positions and chemistry. There’s no better time for Wiegman to fiddle about with the drawing board in these two upcoming fixtures.

As some of the England legends the world has come to adore near the age of retirement, the youngsters prepare to step up to the challenge of filling their boots.

Lotte Wubben-Moy, for example, is a very exciting young centre-back for Arsenal. The next coming years could be crucial for her international career as she learns alongside Steph Houghton to perhaps eventually become the skipper’s successor.

Lotte Wubben-Moy

With Wubben-Moy in defence, this paves the way for a potential switch for Leah Williamson. The 24-year-old centre-half is versatile and can play comfortably in the No.6 role. As a matter of fact, Williamson was named among the midfielders for this camp, so the plans could already be in place for Wiegman to play the Arsenal star in the middle of the park.

Bethany England went from scooping the WSL Player of the Year award with Chelsea to watching Sam Kerr and Pernille Harder in her place from the bench last season.

Bethany England

The striker has received very little game time since her new teammates arrived at Kingsmeadow but she is still one of the country’s most clinical forwards. This camp could be the ideal opportunity for England to add more than just ten caps to her Lionesses tally.

In goal, Wiegman is spoiled for options, but with both Ellie Roebuck and Karen Bardsley injured, she is forced to experiment in the World Cup qualifiers.

Mary Earps

Mary Earps is a very underrated player despite her spells with Reading, Wolfsburg, and now Man United. She has made just eight senior appearances for the Lionesses despite being one of the older goalkeepers in the set up. 

Although she boasts impressive domestic experience, she is still very much untested on the international stage. Wiegman could certainly use this camp to discover whether Earps has what it takes to become a mainstay in the England squad.

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