Phil Neville‘s Lionesses play the U.S. women’s national team on Wednesday in Orlando, Florida needing only a draw to win a first-ever SheBelieves Cup.
Neville’s first two matches in charge of England’s women saw them hammer France 4-1 and fight back to draw with Germany 2-2 and they have four points from the round-robin tournament heading into their game against the hosts.
The former Manchester United and Everton defender doesn’t believe his players are scared of the current number one team in the world, the USWNT, with England currently third in FIFA’s rankings.
“Our players realise they are at the same level, and that fear factor is drifting,” Neville said. “I noticed it when I left Manchester United and went to Everton, the aura of playing against (Ryan) Giggs, (Roy) Keane and (Paul) Scholes – my initial reaction was ‘they’re just human beings’, and at times they have the same insecurities as anybody in life. When you play with these players that are supposed to be the best in the world and train with them day in, day out, you realise that they are human beings.”
With a couple of England’s squad currently playing in the NWSL (Jodie Taylor and Rachel Daly) in the United States, plus a handful of Americans playing in the WSL in England in recent seasons, there is plenty of overlap between these two teams.
Add in the fact that the last time these teams met in the SheBelieves Cup 12 months ago England secured a 1-0 win, and this should be an intriguing battle in Florida between an emerging women’s national team and the top dogs from the USWNT.