While the French men’s team may have won the World Cup, the country is now preparing to host two women’s finals; the senior World Cup in 2019 but first the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup. The tournament begins on August 5th with New Zealand taking on the Netherlands and the hosts playing Ghana in Vannes.
Manchester City Women’s side will have four players representing the club in France; Georgia Stanway, Ellie Roebuck and some of the clubs youngest players, Esme Morgan and new signing Lauren Hemp. All four were named in head coach Mo Marley’s 35 woman preliminary squad and also the final 21, alongside fellow WSL players such as Taylor Hinds and Mayumi Pacheco.
Stanway has been a real rising star in Nick Cushing’s squad over the past four years, scoring rockets from outside the box and netting her first senior hat-trick against Sunderland at just seventeen. The nineteen year old has been a regular face in the Young Lionesses squads and was even called up to the senior side by new head coach Phil Neville, to accompany the side to this year’s She Believes Cup in March.
Neville has said the next step for both her and Roebuck, who was also called up to train with the side, is to compete at this U20 World Cup and to be ready to help the team in the 12 months leading up to the 2019 WWC. Georgia captained the U17’s in the European Championships in 2016, leading the team to a bronze medal and was named FA Women’s Super League Player of the Month for February.
Having only played twice in last year’s Spring Series, Ellie Roebuck is a goalkeeper who has really come into her own in the past season. She made 21 appearances for the Blues last season, deputising for the injured Karen Bardsley and doing a brilliant job, not least against Chelsea in February when Bardsley got injured just three minutes in and also the Continental Cup final against Arsenal.
The youngster kept 4 clean sheets and made 21 saves in the WSL this season and arguably one of her best saves was against Chelsea and Drew Spence in February.
England teammate and fellow keeper Sandy McIver, is often preferred over Roebuck, however with the season City’s number 26 has had in goal, honing her technique and style, there’s no reason to believe Roebuck can’t play a part in England’s campaign; from the bench OR between the sticks.
One of City’s youngest players Esme Morgan, made the step up from the development side to the senior team during last year’s pre-season in Toulouse, playing against both Montpellier HSC and Olympique Lyonnais, following that up with a league debut away to Yeovil; day one of last year’s campaign.
The defender has 10 City appearances to her name so far and was pitched up against the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool in place of Abbie McManus and Danish defender Mie Jans. Morgan continues to improve with every game she plays, building confidence that will be vital if she is to earn more playing time against big teams. She has captained the England U19’s and will make the step up to U20 level at this tournament. Morgan has a lot more to bring and will hopefully get to showcase her talent.
Another player born in 2000, is former Bristol City forward Lauren Hemp, who City signed back in May. Hemp is currently the PFA’s Women’s Young Player of the Year, which new teammates Stanway, Roebuck and Keira Walsh were also nominated for; Walsh finishing second and Roebuck third. City’s new number 15 is also the Vauxhall England Young Player of the Year.
Hemp has experienced a real rise in fame after captaining the England U17’s in their European Championship campaign, to being called up for the final round of the UEFA U19 Championship Qualifiers alongside new teammate Morgan in March; to a U20 World Cup squad, is quite some achievement.
The Norfolk born teenager who turns eighteen on Tuesday, played a big part in former Bristol manager Willie Kirk’s plans and scored 7 goals. One of the favourites was her goal against Arsenal in October last year; a lovely curler from outside the box that just evaded goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal.
England’s first opponent is Korea DPR, who they take on in Dinan, northwest France at 16:30 CET, 15:30 BST. Six of the team faced the Koreans two years ago in Jordan at the U17 World Cup.
Their next challenge is Brazil, again in Dinan and also another team from their group two years ago, who they play on August 8th at 13:30 CET, 12:30 BST, before taking on Mexico on the 12th at the same time in Saint-Malo.