Sarina Wiegman, England coach, supports players negotiating transfers during international duty before Euro qualifier.


Sarina Wiegman has said that England players away on international duty will not be prevented from engaging with clubs during the transfer window.

The Lionesses are in the Netherlands for a behind-closed-doors friendly on Friday, with the aim of getting minutes in their legs ahead of their penultimate European Championships qualifier next Friday.

But the training camp also coincides with a busy transfer window in the WSL, with several Lionesses having either already moved or are still thrashing out the details of their club futures.

She said: ‘The players are so organised that if things are happening during camp, they’ll probably do that outside of the training session and meetings and stuff like that.

Sarina Wiegman says her players can engage with clubs while they are on international duty

Sarina Wiegman says her players can engage with clubs while they are on international duty

‘The players know that we support them and that if they want to have a conversation that they can – and some do and some don’t. And of course they also feel they would like to have it arranged as soon as possible if things are changing but they can switch attention straight away.’

So far, the confirmed departures include England’s No 1 Mary Earps, who has signed for PSG from Manchester United, as well as fellow goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck, who has joined Champions League winners Barcelona from Manchester City. Lionesses full back Esme Morgan has also left City for NWSL side Washington Spirit.

But details relating to the movements of two other big-name England stars – Lucy Bronze and Fran Kirby – are yet to be confirmed.

While reports are suggesting that Chelsea are on the precipice of closing a deal to sign the five-time Champions League winner Bronze, there has not yet been an official club announcement.

England star Lucy Bronze (centre) is reportedly close to agreeing a move to Chelsea

England star Lucy Bronze (centre) is reportedly close to agreeing a move to Chelsea 

And it remains to be seen where 31-year-old Kirby, who left Chelsea after a nine-year trophy-laden spell in west London, will head to next.

But the England boss made a point to say that the players at camp are fully focused on their upcoming matches, adding: ‘What I see in training sessions that everyone is there doing the job well, want to do well, so there’s nothing that distract us at the moment.’

England are preparing for their penultimate Euros qualifier against Republic of Ireland next week at Carrow Road.

Earlier this week it was announced that star winger Lauren James had withdrawn from the squad alongside Arsenal defender Lotte Wubben-Moy and Southampton goalkeeper Kayla Rendell.

James has been troubled with an injury to her toe, with Wiegman saying now is ‘not the moment to take a risk with her health when there is a chance she could be out for a longer period of time’.

The Lionesses currently sit third in group A3, with only goal difference separating them from an automatic qualification spot currently occupied by Sweden. Group-leaders France are two points ahead.

If England finish third or fourth then they will enter the playoffs and an extra four games, a situation they will be hoping to avoid.

England have produced a mixed-bag of performances so far, drawing at home to Sweden and losing to France, as well as recording two wins away – including against Ireland and most recently against France.

When pressed on whether the defending champions most recent victory against France boosted morale, the England boss’ reply was emphatic.

‘Yes, of course that was a very important victory, and necessary. I think what we proved [to] ourselves, again, is that we can play at the highest level and play very well,’ she said.

‘We want to get to new standards, to push ourselves and improve all the time, against different opponents, because now against Ireland first and then Sweden, some things will be different and then we want to perform at the highest level too.

‘So we’ll come in here, we’re in a good position, we have it in our own hands to qualify in July and that’s what we absolutely want to do. We’re working on our style of play, to develop that, and also get prepared for those games and have some little tweaks in game plans.’

The Lionesses will play Republic of Ireland in Norwich next Friday, before travelling to Gothenburg for their final game against Sweden at Gamla Ullevi the following Tuesday.



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