Sarina Wiegman's England moves into a new era after Euro 2022 glory

England squad

As Leah Williamson lifted the Euro 2022 trophy in front of 87,192 fans at Wembley, women’s football in England changed forever.

Increased media scrutiny of players, more investment from brands and sponsors, record attendances at Women’s Super League matches – all of this and more will transpire in the coming weeks.

But seismic movements have not just happened off the pitch. Since Euro 2022 came to a conclusion, Sarina Wiegman’s squad has already started to evolve.

This has largely been outside of her control, with Ellen White and Jill Scott deciding to go out on a high and hang up their boots with a European gold medal around their necks.

They have been replaced in England’s squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers by Ebony Salmon and Jordan Nobbs, while Katie Zelem and Lauren James were called up with Fran Kirby and Chloe Kelly out injured.

Reserve goalkeeper Hannah Hampton was also swapped out for Sandy MacIver.

Both White and Scott have been a mainstay for England for years. The latter made her debut in 2006, cementing a place in the heart of the team’s midfield.

She made 160 more appearances, sitting behind only Fara Williams in the list of England’s most capped players of all time.

The 35-year-old has represented her country at four World Cups and European Championships – Scott is synonymous with the Lionesses.

White has a similar story, although the 33-year-old earned her first cap four years after Scott.

England's Jill Scott

She established herself as the natural successor to star striker Kelly Smith, and has retired as the Lionesses all-time top goalscorer with 52.

Scott and White both featured during Euro 2022, with the latter scoring twice. But it was clear their time with the national team was running out, with younger stars such as Alessia Russo, Georgia Stanway and Ella Toone threatening to push the two veterans out of the squad.

It’s hard to imagine an England team without Scott and White, but this is now the reality. The 30-year-old Lucy Bronze has become the oldest player in the squad – as a new era for women’s football begins, so does one for the Lionesses squad.

England's Ellen White

So what’s next for England? After scoring four goals during Euro 2022, Alessia Russo looks set to succeed White as the Lionesses’ starting striker.

The 23-year-old was used as a super substitute during this summer’s tournament, however. Will she be able to have the same impact from the very first minute?

White’s departure has also presented an exciting opportunity to Salmon, an exciting young talent who has been in scintillating form for Houston Dash in the NWSL. The 21-year-old has scored eight goals in as many games over in the US.

NWSL star Ebony Salmon

She will be challenged by James, the only uncapped player in the group. The 20-year-old has hardly featured for Chelsea since transferring from Manchester United, but Wiegman sees the youngster as an exciting prospect.

It is almost fitting that these two players, from a new generation of players who will have faced little of the hardships overcome by Scott and White at the start of their respective careers, will spearhead the evolution of the England team.

In midfield, Scott’s retirement gives Nobbs the chance to finally make a mark at international level.

The Arsenal player, technically one of England’s veteran players at 29-years-old, has missed out on numerous tournaments through injury.

Chelsea star Lauren James

She was ruled out of Euro 2022 with sprained knee ligaments but has now made a full recovery, ready to claim a place in England’s squad for the 2023 World Cup.

At her very best, Nobbs is one of the best midfielders in the world, and her inclusion would serve to only improve an already-talented Lionesses squad.

Wiegman may have put out the exact same line-up for every match at Euro 2022, but her team at the World Cup next year could have a new look.

With an exciting group of players jostling to become permanent replacements for White and Scott, the Lionesses could be even better in 12 months time.

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Mary Earps

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