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Ellen White boosts England with return to training before final warm-up match

Ellen White missed England’s win over the Netherlands after testing positive for coronavirus (Tim Goode/PA)
Ellen White missed England’s win over the Netherlands after testing positive for coronavirus (Tim Goode/PA)

England had Ellen White back in training on Wednesday ahead of their final Euros warm-up match against Switzerland.

White, the Lionesses’ 50-goal record scorer, missed last Friday’s 5-1 victory over the Netherlands at Elland Road having tested positive for coronavirus.

The Manchester City striker has subsequently made the trip to Switzerland, who England play in Zurich on Thursday before opening the home Euros by taking on Austria at Old Trafford next Wednesday.

White is England Women's record scorer with 50 goals (Joe Giddens/PA).
White is England Women’s record scorer with 50 goals (Joe Giddens/PA)

And boss Sarina Wiegman told a press conference regarding White: “She’s good. It took a while, so we’re glad she’s back, she’s very happy too.

“She’ll start on the pitch today and hopefully we can build her up again and get her ready for the Euros.

“Maybe one or two days she took it easy, and then she could train by herself, she got a programme. She’s in shape.”

Asked if White would be able to play on Thursday, Wiegman said: “I don’t know yet. Let’s first start and see how she is on the training pitch and start up. She hasn’t been in training for a week now, so we don’t take any risks.”

Sarina Wiegman's England play Switzerland on Thursday before opening their home Euros campaign next week (Nick Potts/PA).
Sarina Wiegman’s England play Switzerland on Thursday before opening their home Euros campaign next week (Nick Potts/PA)

Lucy Bronze will sit out Thursday’s clash after feeling unwell – the Football Association said she was returning to England as a precautionary measure, adding: “The defender has tested negative for Covid and will continue to be monitored by medical staff in the coming days.”

The Switzerland contest will be England’s third warm-up fixture, having beaten Belgium 3-0 at Molineux before last week thumping the Netherlands, who Wiegman guided to Euro 2017 glory.

The Dutchwoman said: “There has been some research from other tournaments that when you go away and come back, that helps.

“I think in this situation we’re in, we’ve been at St George’s Park for a while, very good pitch, we were treated very well, but then it’s good to get in another environment, come here, get some freshness, have a good game tomorrow and then come back and get really ready and into the atmosphere of the Euros.

“I think we’re in a very good place, and we just have to show good football and do our best. We know we can make an impact in England, we can give England’s football a big boost, and that is what we really want to do.”

In the Netherlands match England came from behind to win, with four of their goals coming in a second half that saw substitutes make a significant impact and skipper Leah Williamson back in defence after starting the game in midfield.

“You see that we’re still building, although it gets close to the Euros,” Wiegman said.

“We have so many options in this team, because the depth in the squad is good.

Leah Williamson enjoys herself in training
Leah Williamson enjoys herself in training (Nick Potts/PA)

“I thought in this last game that she (Williamson) felt a little uncomfortable in midfield and felt more comfortable at the back.

“We’ll see how that goes. We have those options, and it’s OK – for her club (Arsenal), she plays at the back a lot, and I think she’s a very good midfielder too. We have many options in the defensive line as well as midfield.”

She added: “We’re now coming into a stage where we have to perform. During the year we had time to develop. Now we have to find out the team that’s going to start, and the options we have when we want to change, and it’s about performing and not trying out things any more.”

Meanwhile, the FA has announced England’s World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg on September 6 is to take place at Stoke’s bet365 Stadium.

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