Faye impressed with Sampson

England Women’s Head Coach Mark Sampson may have been in charge for just seven months but former skipper Faye White believes he has already revitalised the team.

Sampson has only been in the hotseat since December, and the 31-year-old has led the Three Lions to seven victories in his opening nine matches – including four wins out of four in World Cup qualifying.

Sampson has handed senior debuts to Alex Greenwood, Demi Stokes and Lizzie Durack, as well as recalling Lianne Sanderson and Gemma Davison and inviting 21-year-old Fran Kirby into the set-up for the first time.

England v Sweden

A Women’s International
2pm, Sunday 3 August 2014
Victoria Park, Hartlepool United FC
Call 01429 272 584 to buy tickets

And, as England prepare to entertain Sweden in Hartlepool on Sunday 3 August, White said she is an advocate of the new regime.

She explained: “Mark has brought an enthusiasm, a new approach and he’s freshened up the team.

“It means that players are having to impress someone new and it gives players a chance to make a name for themselves if they haven’t been involved before.

“I think it has been a good appointment because he’s young and he’s got fresh ideas.

“Because Mark is someone new he’s trying to bring his own style and his own philosophy to the team and naturally that revitalises the players.

“He’s not had the toughest of qualifying campaigns but the team have still done well to keep the record going. The test will come against the likes of Sweden and France and if and when they get to the World Cup next year.

“But Mark has had the chance to give caps to some younger players, give them some experience in competitive matches and hopefully they will be stronger for it.”

White was still a centre back, and captain, at Arsenal when Sampson started to make a name for himself at Bristol Academy.

He impressed many in the women’s game with the Vixens’ style of play, he masterminded their route to two FA Women’s Cup Finals in three years and steered them to the runners-up spot in last season’s FA WSL.

White said: “He did a really impressive job there.

White’s England career

DOB: 02/02/78
Caps: 90
Goals: 11
Debut: v Scotland, 09/03/97

“The Bristol players always played with passion and had a good work ethic. But he also got them playing good football and he wasn’t afraid to change things up – and he’s tried to bring a similar style of play to England.

“You can see the girls are hungry for goals and they have got a licence to express themselves. The last few games he has changed formation and it will take a while for the girls to adapt, but you’d rather give it a go now than in a World Cup.

“You need to have different options in terms of formation and personnel and players need to be able to cope with that.”

England are on the verge of qualification for next summer’s World Cup. They have won all eight qualifiers to date and require just one more point from their final two matches to reach Canada 2015.

White captained her country at four major tournaments – two World Cups and two European Championships – and with the Three Lions so close to another finals campaign, the 36-year-old emphasised how important it is that England keep on qualifying for these tournaments.

White added: “The expectation on the team is growing every year and the girls have to keep performing. We are at that stage now where if we don’t qualify for major tournaments it’s not good enough.

“We have to keep getting to major tournaments. I’d say that’s now the minimum requirement and that shows just how much England have progressed over the years.

“And when you qualify, the BBC cover the games which, in turn, helps raise the profile of the game, it helps to change people’s perceptions and hopefully attracts more girls to play the game, so qualifying has a much wider significance that just making it to a finals.

“But I think we need to start progressing in major competitions. We’ve got to a couple of quarter finals, we got to the Euro 2009 final and now we need to start thinking about winning one of these sooner rather than later.”

Tickets for the Sweden match are on sale now priced £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. A family ticket (two adults and two children) is available at £10 and group booking discounts apply.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 01429 272 584 (option 2), via TheFA.com’s ticketing page or at the Hartlepool United ticket office.

England’s long squad:

Goalkeepers
Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Siobhan Chamberlain (Arsenal), Rachel Brown-Finnis (Everton), Carly Telford (Notts County)

Defenders
Gemma Bonner (Liverpool), Sophie Bradley (Notts County), Lucy Bronze (Liverpool), Alex Greenwood (Everton), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Casey Stoney (Arsenal), Demi Stokes (University of South Florida), Claire Rafferty (Chelsea)

Midfielders
Anita Asante (Malmo), Laura Bassett (Chelsea), Jade Moore (Birmingham City), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Fara Williams (Liverpool), Jo Potter (Birmingham City), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal)

Forwards
Karen Carney (Birmingham City), Dunia Susi (Notts County), Eniola Aluko (Chelsea), Jess Clarke (Notts County), Gemma Davison (Liverpool), Natasha Dowie (Liverpool), Toni Duggan (Manchester City), Fran Kirby (Reading), Lianne Sanderson (Boston Breakers), Kelly Smith (Arsenal), Jodie Taylor (Washington Spirit), Danielle Carter (Arsenal).