It was a proud day for Manchester City as some 13 players – present and past – took part as England beat Scotland 2-1 in the Women’s World Cup.
There were seven current City stars in action (six England and one Scotland), plus six former players on a memorable day for the Club.
Lucy Bronze, Nikita Parris, Claire Emslie, Jane Ross, Jen Beattie and Abbie McManus may have moved to pastures new, but they made their name first with City and the clash in Nice must, at times, have felt like an old pals’ reunion.
Of our current stars, Karen Bardsley, Steph Houghton, Keira Walsh, Jill Scott and new signing Ellen White all started in Phil Neville’s XI, and Georgia Stanway came off the bench while Caroline Weir played for the Scots.
After a nervy victory for the Lionesses, BBC Sport reported: “After the break, England fell short of producing the quality which Neville believes can take them to their first World Cup title, having finished third at the 2015 edition.
“The result will be a relief for the former Manchester United and England defender, who is taking part in his first World Cup as a player or manager, and he will have been impressed by the performances from White, Parris and Lucy Bronze.
“However, he will also know that similar hesitancy against more fancied nations could prove costly later in the tournament.”
New signing Ellen White won the star player honours, with the BBC adding: “White, who recently moved to Manchester City, was not to be denied before the break though and when Kirby caught Scotland skipper Rachel Corsie in possession, the forward finished precisely for her 29th England goal.
“It proved a telling lead and showed the danger that England possess, particularly down the right where Parris and Bronze menaced Docherty, who was eventually withdrawn.”
Staying with international football, The Guardian suggested – with some justification – that Raheem Sterling needs a rest after an exhausting few years for Club and country.
England beat Switzerland 6-5 on penalties to finish third in the inaugural UEFA Nations League, but Sean Ingle questioned whether there was any real merit in a third/fourth place play-off.
He writes: “Who could blame Sterling, for instance, for not hitting the highest notes in Portugal? After all, this was his 58th game of the season. Last season, too, he played 58 matches. Since August 2017 his longest break is three weeks – from the end of Russia 2018 to Manchester City’s opening match of this season. He urgently needs the footballing equivalent of being put on long-term battery charge. The same could be said for Harry Kane, given he has had five ankle injuries in three years and barely any rest in between.
“That Sterling and Kane were digging deep for the cause in Portugal was not their fault, nor England’s. But the danger when Uefa and Fifa appear determined to shorten what used to be the off-season is that thoroughbreds can be treated like carthorses.
“Increasingly football is an 11-month fandango, the baton passed from one season to the next with the blurring speed of a sprint relay. There will be no respite in 2021 either, with the World Club Cup munching deep into the summer.”
Meanwhile, UEFA.com revealed that City’s Player of the Season had bagged yet another plaudit as Portugal beat Holland 1-0 to win the Nations League.
They wrote: “Bernardo Silva has been named the Player of the Tournament with Frenkie de Jong picking up the award for best young player.
“Packie Bonner, UEFA Technical Observer commented: ‘Bernardo Silva showed his level of quality in creating goals, his overall performance on the two games was outstanding. Had a positive influence on the team both in and out of possession.’
Finally, a transfer snippet to finish off with.
The Daily Mail believe City could be among a number of suitors for Spurs defender Danny Rose – should he become available.
They report: “Danny Rose has admitted he could leave Tottenham before the start of next season.
“The England international is a target for Manchester United, Manchester City and Everton after finding his best form again this season for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
“And the 28-year-old believes Tottenham’s policy of moving players on when they reach a certain point in their careers could see him shipped out this summer.
“Rose starred for England in their UEFA Nations League win on penalties against Switzerland to secure third place on Sunday.
“And afterwards he said: ‘It’s no secret I’ve been linked with a move in the media.
‘And it’s the club’s policy to move players on when they reach a certain age.’
“Rose has been a crucial member of the Tottenham team in recent years and has spent 11 seasons with the London club.”
That’s all for today – back with more of the same tomorrow…