Sampson demands positivity

Mark Sampson has demanded a positive mental attitude ahead of England’s eagerly anticipated clash with Sweden.

England Women take on the side ranked fifth in the world in a prestigious friendly at Hartlepool’s Victoria Park on Sunday.

And head coach Sampson says when facing top level opposition it is vital the players go into the game knowing they are capable of winning.

He said: “That’s the important thing for us that – whoever we play – we go in with a positive attitude. Go in on the front foot and try and make the opponents worry about us, without focusing too much on them. That will be the challenge for Sunday.

England v Sweden

Women’s international 

2pm, Sunday 3 August 2014 

Victoria Park, Hartlepool 

Call 01429 272 584 for tickets

“It’s incredibly important at this level. There’s not one team that’s not tactically organised and doesn’t have technically gifted players so you’ve got to find another way to find the edge. 

“For me you can put the technique and the tactics into it, but it’s normally the emotional side of the game that makes the difference. We’re going to have to make sure we’re in a positive and fresh mindset for the game on Sunday to really commit ourselves to the plan and really go for it.”

“So the focus this week is to ensure that come Sunday when we cross the white line we can really be at it and go for it and give ourselves the best possible chance of performing to our maximum – if we do that we can win the game.”

Sampson has been with the squad at St. George’s Park since Monday. The group depart for the north-east on Friday, and will train at Hartlepool’s ground on Saturday before Sunday’s meeting with Pia Sundhage’s team.

And after four sessions with the group, Sampson is delighted with what he has seen.

“It’s been a very positive camp again for us,” he continued. “We’ve spent some time on the training field trying to embed our principles even further and the players have again worked incredibly hard – so I’m delighted with their mentality. To listen, to improve – and we’ve got some good work done.

“It’s going to be a big test for us against a very good team – but a test we’re ready for and we’re certainly looking forward to”

Mark Sampson 

“We’ve been together now for nearly half a year so the players are really familiar with the way we work – and with each other. It’s always good to be confident and comfortable in each other’s company. 

“This week has been a very competitive environment, a very intense environment – and that will get the best out of people. 

“We’ve demanded that they really start to push each other and make each other perform to the maximum and I’ve been pleased by the way they’ve taken on board those messages.”

And of the opposition, Sampson says his side know they are in for a stern challenge – and insisted there will be nothing friendly about the fixture.

“It’s never a friendly by nature,” he added. 

“I think it’s going to be a big test for us against a very good team – but a test we’re ready for and we’re certainly looking forward to.”

Tickets for the 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 squad

Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Siobhan Chamberlain (Arsenal), Carly Telford* (Notts County).

Defenders: Gemma Bonner (Liverpool), Lucy Bronze (Liverpool), Alex Greenwood (Everton), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Demi Stokes (University of South Florida).

Midfielders: 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), Eniola Aluko (Chelsea), Jess Clarke (Notts County), Natasha Dowie (Liverpool), Toni Duggan (Manchester City), Fran Kirby (Reading), Lianne Sanderson (Boston Breakers), Jodie Taylor (Washington Spirit).

* replaced Rachel Brown-Finnis
** replaced Dunia Susi