England and Scotland go head-to-head in the FIFA Women’s’ World Cup later today – and the media is awash with pre-match talk as the excitement around the Lionesses hopes of success builds.
And there’s plenty of transfer talk, too, with Pep Guardiola understood to be keen to fine-tune his Fourmidables squad this summer.
Let’s start, though, with the World Cup in France.
The England-Scotland match, which could see as many as 10 City players involved, is today’s big game, and Lionesses boss Phil Neville has called for his side to be brave as they look to make a winning start to the tournament.
“Bravery is one of our five values,” he says. “I’ll only criticise my players if they don’t make the pass, if they try to take the safe option. For 16 months we’ve talked about risk, about gambling in the final third, being brave. We had the Marines in to talk to us about delivering on the frontline.
“This job’s the biggest risk I’ve ever taken, but this is going to be the biggest Women’s World Cup and I want to challenge for it.”
— Lionesses (@Lionesses) June 9, 2019
“The attention we’re getting is a bit mad, a bit crazy,” says Weir. “But it’s something that hasn’t happened overnight and we’ve always wanted the country to get involved and be interested in women’s football so we’re embracing it.
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Sunday, June 9, 2019 8:38 AM
“It’s all gone to a new level and it’s not something I ever expected to happen when I was growing up in Dunfermline, but I feel very honoured. My dad spotted the mural a few days ago and sent me a picture. It’s near my old primary school, Pittencrieff, but it’s painted on the side of an Indian takeaway. It’s called the Royal Bengal and, to be fair, it’s quite popular, so I’ve been buzzing. I haven’t eaten there myself, but I’ve heard good reports.”
Former Lioness Sue Smith, who earned 93 caps during a distinguished career, has told talkSPORT Neville’s side can go all the way in the tournament.
“They’ll be going there to win the tournament,” she said.
“That’s their aim and that’s their focus. All of the buzz around is just nice for them to know they’ve got the backing of the country behind them.
“There’s a belief now that England can go into tournaments and win them, or at least get to the final. I think that will be what they expect.”
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Meanwhile, City are reportedly keen on signing both Ben Chilwell and Harry Maguire from Premier League rivals Leicester.
According to the Star‘s Steve Millar, Guardiola wants to inject some more English talent into his squad, with Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka another player catching the Catalan’s eye.
“Pep Guardiola’s search for home-grown stars to give his treble-winners an English injection of talent will see him banging on Leicester’s door when he returns from holiday,” Millar writes.
“But King Power boss Brendan Rodgers is in no hurry to answer as Guardiola brings out his Manchester City cheque book to splash £125 million on Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell.
“Rodgers guided Leicester into a ninth-place finish last season – a whopping 46 points behind champions City – and is determined to build his team around the dynamic defensive pairing.
“If City offered £80 million for Maguire, 26, the board would have to think long and hard with Chilwell, 22, valued at £50 million.
“Maguire is seen as the perfect fit to fill Vincent Kompany’s boots now he has joined Anderlecht as player coach.
“But Rodgers will fight from now until the transfer window closes at 5pm on Thursday August 8 to keep his young English stars at the club.
“Croydon-born Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 21, is another Guardiola target with a £40 million price tag on the Crystal Palace defender’s head.”
That’s all for today’s Media Watch – but stay with us throughout the day as we bring you all the latest City news.