Rachel Daly happy to ‘play anywhere’ for England as headed brace sinks Italy

The Aston Villa star is the Women’s Super League’s joint leading goal-scorer this season

Rachel Steinberg
Sunday 19 February 2023 19:00 GMT
(The FA via Getty Images)

Rachel Daly remained resolute she would “play anywhere” for England after another impressive audition for the permanent number nine role in the Lionesses’ 2-1 victory over Italy in the Arnold Clark Cup.

England extended their unbeaten streak to 28 games after Daly scored headers in either half to make it two wins from two for the hosts, who beat South Korea 4-0 in their tournament opener.

Daly plays up front for Aston Villa and is the Women’s Super League’s joint leading goal-scorer alongside Manchester City’s Bunny Shaw, netting 10 so far this season, but was employed at left-back throughout the Lionesses’ Euro 2022-winning campaign.

“I will always say I will play anywhere,” Daly told ITV. “I am happy to score but winning the game was in the forefront of my mind and that is what we needed to do and that is what we did and delivered and the team played brilliantly today.

“I think I am pretty good in the air. It probably helps when I am playing all over the place in different positions. For me, right place right time, fantastic ball from Lauren James for the second one and Robbo (Katie Robinson) the first one. I am here to score goals when I play up front, we got the win and that is the most important thing.

“That is what comes with the depth that we have in this squad. We have some unbelievable players in this team and every single one of them is capable of playing at any time and you saw that tonight.

“There were some amazing performances, there is plenty more to come. It keeps us on our toes. but the competition is so healthy and one that we all thrive in and want that challenge.”

Daly was one of nine changes to Sarina Wiegman’s line-up to face Italy, a rare near-full rotation from the usually consistent England manager, with Jess Carter and Alex Greenwood, wearing the captain’s armband at the Coventry Building Society Arena, the only players to retain their places.

Wiegman handed Katie Robinson and Jess Park their first starts and made six substitutions as England moved one step closer to defending last winter’s inaugural Arnold Clark Cup title.

I will always say I will play anywhere

Rachel Daly

With just five months until the Lionesses kick off their World Cup campaign in Australia, the boss is using the four-team competition to experiment with combinations and observe those hoping to make the cut come July.

Asked if number nine was a “future position” for Daly, Wiegman told ITV: “It’s not a future position for her because she’s playing there at club now, sometimes she plays with us. We have so many options up front and we’re just trying out the options we think we have.

“As we said before this tournament, we want to try out some combinations, we want to see lots of players, and what I take from this game and from the South Korea game is so many players have played minutes now and they showed where they are at this moment.

“We’ve seen lots of good things and I’m happy with that. If they want to give us headaches, they are giving us some headaches.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in