20 March 2020

Ex England international Alex Scott 'worried' Lionesses could go three years without competitive football

Former Arsenal and England defender Alex Scott is concerned the postponement of Euro 2020 for the men's team could mean the Lionesses go three years without competitive football.

At the moment the men's and women's European Championships are both set to be staged next summer, but there has been talk that Phil Neville's side's hosting of the 2021 tournament could be pushed back to 2022.

And Scott believes, on balance, that the earlier the competition can happen the better it is for the Lionesses given they do not need to play qualification matches.

Speaking in her column in The Sun, she said: "One option would be to have it straight after the men’s tournament next year which there are benefits to. Punters will be buzzing off the men’s tournament and then straight away will have more games to go to.

"Or we could push it back a year but then feel the knock-on effects of having the World Cup a year later. The qualifiers would have to fit in with the women’s Euros and the last thing I want is to see the games suffer.

"We’ve got time to figure this out and come up with a sensible solution so people have got to be patient. I'm worried that as hosts of the tournament the Lionesses could potentially go without a competitive fixture for three years.

"Obviously if the Tokyo Olympics goes ahead this year then some of the England players will represent Team GB – but that isn’t enough."

Neville's team have struggled since their run to the World Cup semi-finals last summer and were beaten by both USA and Spain at the SheBelieves Cup earlier this month.

And Scott is of the opinion that Neville is under extreme pressure to make his team perform ahead of the Euros.

"Phil is under pressure, I think the honeymoon period of him getting appointed is over and he is being scrutinised on not producing results with England," she added.

"I was a strong advocate of him being appointed two years ago and implementing new ideas. But Phil and his coaching staff need to be brutally honest about team selection and the playing style because it’s not working.

"He has tried to bring in a style since he took over and England have been poor since the World Cup so he cannot continue being stubborn with his tactics."

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