Charlie Webster - England women can show Capello's boys how it's done

01 April 2011 12:13
England take on the USA this Saturday in a friendly warm up match. I'm sure you're all thinking I've gone mad but I'm actually talking about England's women

While the mens team are back at their respective domestic clubs, the women's side are in a camp at the moment getting ready for this weekend's friendly at Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road stadium. The women's World Cup starts at the end of June in Germany and the build up has begun.

Last night I hosted an event for Nike Women's Football which included a Q&A with four players on the world stage - USA internationals Hope Solo and Carli Lloyd and England's Faye and Ellen White.

Beforehand I was chatting to the American players and their press team and the first thing that they asked me was why the game on Saturday wasn't being covered by a main broadcaster in the UK. ESPN US are broadcasting the game live and have sent over a commentary team. In the UK few people probably know the game is taking place, never mind it being broadcast live.

We tried between us to work out why in the States, a country where 'soccer' is behind a long list of American mainstream sports, the women's game is celebrated and encouraged. However in the UK, where the beautiful game thrives at its best, the women's game is seen as a poor relation, not warranting the coverage of the male game.

Hope Solo, one of the best goalkeepers in the world with 91 appearances for her national side, said that across the pond there is definitely a different attitude towards women in football and in her words "there isn't the stigma attached to it in our country like there is in England".

Both Carli and Hope were a bit gutted that they weren't playing in a stadium on par with Premier League club facilities and I'm not entirely convinced they were that impressed with their training camp over in Dartford of all places.

It was great to see two teams of teenage girls from clubs in Brighton and Portsmouth listening intently to the international players. Ellen, a new face in the England squad who scored on her debut last year, talked about how in England now there is a developing youth system in place in the female game which has allowed her to progress through.

In the group of young girls there were some serious stars, one girl from Brighton who gets picked in the boys team over the majority of the boys in the squad. One young player even made some gingerbread for Faye as she's been an inspiration and role model to her in the game.

Faye has been on the scene for a while now in the heart of England's and Arsenal's defence and has captained our country through three major tournaments. Maybe Fabio Capello can take a few tips from the managerial skills of Hope Powell, England's manager. Captain consistency and communication being just a couple of points Fabio could learn from.

I met Hope earlier this year and she is one tough cookie. Faye said she works them seriously hard and doesn't take any prisoners. Not a force to be messed with and an amazing inspiration in football for both men and women.

Earlier this week England played the USA in a warm up game behind closed doors. England lost 2-1. The Olympic Gold medalists are tough opposition and amongst the favourites going into the World Cup in June. The female game has developed so much over the years that the majority of nations have improved so the competition is going to be close and exciting.

Germany, the hosts, are very similar to the male team, clinical and organised having invested a great deal in youth development. They warrant the title of favourites. However England are continually becoming stronger competitors and should do well, better than their male counterparts in South Africa last year that's for sure.

Japan, Canada, Mexico and Brazil are also in with a shout. Again Brazil are just like the men's national team, skilled and energetic in attack. Hope Solo was telling us how she had to constantly stop the Brazilian strikers in the Olympic final where Carli, who bangs goals in for fun, scored the winning goal.

So keep your eye out this weekend and get behind England's women in their friendly against the USA. You never know, England could win the World Cup this summer and show the men how it's done.

Source: DSG

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