Hege Riise, England’s interim manager, has said Lucy Bronze may not feature in the friendly against Canada on Tuesday evening because the right‑back is still struggling to return from a groin injury.
Riise said of Bronze: “She stayed back at St George’s Park when we were in France. We will decide after the session today if she is able to play and, if so, how many minutes. That will be a discussion for us today. She is doing better.”
England endured a 3-1 defeat against a depleted France side (with 15 of Lyon’s European champions having to isolate) on Friday, with the Lionesses’ only goal coming from a Fran Kirby penalty after the side were already two goals down.
The absence of Bronze and the continuing injury woes of the captain, Steph Houghton, and the Manchester City centre-back’s teammate Demi Stokes have meant Riise has not had a full defensive cohort from which to choose.
“It will have an effect,” Arsenal’s Leah Williamson said. “It’s quite hard to keep a consistent back four.”
Riise said: “We are developing our style and then of course there will always be danger when you attack more. We need to be better defensively, defending the transition. That’s the flip side of being a great attacking team.
“If we look at the France game, when we were in a good shape they didn’t create that much. But in the transition, where we are too high, or don’t do the work, run home [run back], then we are in trouble.
“So I will say that the team effort is the thing that we need to work on, more so than individually. But collectively, if we can defend together, we will be a very strong team.”
Williamson thinks it is a “simple fix”. “If you take care of the players that are left up and you have the right balance and support, then you should be OK,” she said.
“What we do in training and how we want to play is dominate possession and dominate the ball. It slots well into our training sessions, because we’re always attacking, we’re always flooding forward and [defending the transition moments has] just been made a point to be aware of. Everybody knows how to do it, it’s just about making sure you do it properly.”