Phil Neville praises Jordan Nobbs for return to England team ahead of Brazil and Portugal clashes

Arsenal midfielder missed Women’s World Cup this summer after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament

Tom Dean
Tuesday 24 September 2019 15:38
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Phil Neville has praised Jordan Nobbs for getting back to her best after injury robbed her of the chance to play at the World Cup this summer.

Arsenal midfielder Nobbs ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament against Everton in November and missed the showpiece tournament in France – where the Lionesses finished fourth – but Neville has recalled the 26-year-old to the England squad after watching her performances for the Gunners against West Ham and Fiorentina this season.

Nobbs also came through 90 minutes unscathed in Arsenal’s 5-0 win over the London City Lionesses on Sunday, and Neville had no hesitation in recalling her for the upcoming England games against Brazil and Portugal.

“I have watched Jordan’s performances against West Ham and Fiorentina, and the player that we missed at the World Cup has got back up to speed and that is testament to her work and dedication,” Neville said.

“Her mentality has been great and we have kept her involved in everything that we have been doing, and her attitude is phenomenal.

“From the moment she was diagnosed, her focus has been getting back into that England shirt as quickly as possible.

“We have spoken to Arsenal about taking our time with her, because we want her around for the next 10 years, not just the next six months.”

While there was good news for Nobbs, the same could not be said of 172-cap midfielder Fara Williams, who has been axed from the squad.

The 35-year-old played in England’s disappointing 3-3 draw with Belgium in August, but will not feature in Neville’s 20-woman squad for the two games next month, despite her manager stressing the need for experience.

“We need the quality of the players we have brought back, in order to introduce the things we want to over the next few years,” Neville said.

“We probably missed that at the last camp – a little bit of experience to guide the younger players – and when you look at our stand-out players from the World Cup, they were our senior players.

“That shows that experience still has a massive part to play in what we’re trying to do with England.

“When you have some kind of success, like we did in the summer, the real top players go again – that is what I want to see on this camp, that mentality that they have shown for the last 18 months.”

Neville has opted to recall senior members of his squad for the upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Portugal including Jill Scott, Fran Kirby and Alex Greenwood, all of whom featured for the Lionesses in France.

Lucy Bronze - who came third at the Best Fifa Awards on Monday in the category of Best Women’s Player, losing to USA’s Megan Rapinoe – is also included.

Nobbs is joined by Arsenal teammates Leah Williamson and Beth Mead, but England will be without the injured Georgia Stanway and Toni Duggan – who has struggled for minutes this season – for next month’s friendlies.

The England boss also has one eye on the future, as shown by the invitations of PSG’s Alana Cook, Everton’s Chloe Kelly and Liverpool’s Melissa Lawley to train with the squad.

England squad to face Brazil on October 5th and Portugal on October 8th:

GK: Mary Earps, Carly Telford, Ellie Roebuck

DF: Lucy Bronze, Rachel Daly, Alex Greenwood, Steph Houghton, Aoife Mannion, Abbie McManus, Demi Stokes, Leah Williamson

MF: Fran Kirby, Beth Mead, Jordan Nobbs, Jill Scott, Keira Walsh

ST: Nikita Parris, Bethany England, Jodie Taylor

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