Sanderson relishing test

Lianne Sanderson says she and her England team-mates are relishing the opportunity to take on such high calibre opposition as Sweden. 

The England Women’s team have been training at St. George’s Park all week. 

They then travel north to Durham on Friday ahead of Sunday’s glamour friendly against Sweden – the side ranked fifth in the world and one many are tipping to go far in next summer’s World Cup.

England v Sweden

International fixture
Victoria Park, Hartlepool
Call 01429 272 584 for tickets

But the Boston Breakers forward says it will be a welcome test for England as they prepare to travel to Wales in a bid to secure qualification for the 2015 tournament in Canada.

“For me I always thrive in these kind of situations – to be playing against the top teams,” she said.

“It will be a great test for us. Personally speaking I enjoy playing against teams like France, Canada – and I’d love to play against America at some point. They are the sort of games where you really can test yourself individually and as a team.”

England face Pia Sundhage’s side at Hartlepool’s Victoria Park on Sunday, before convening again in under three weeks’ time to take on Wales in Cardiff – a game from which they need just a point to reach the finals.

And Sanderson says that despite being a friendly by name, the team is preparing for the Sweden fixture just as they would a competitive outing.

“Going into this game we’re approaching it in the same way that we’d approach a World Cup qualifier,” she added.

“Just because it’s a friendly we’re not being light in training or doing anything differently. 

“We’re preparing exactly the same way that we would for a World Cup qualifier – and that shows you how professional Mark [Sampson] and his team are about doing the job in hand.”

Xavi chats with team-mates

Barcelona have been sharing the St.George’s Park facilities with England Women all week

The Lionesses have not been the only side making the most of the world-class facilities at St. George’s Park this week. 

Training on the adjacent pitch all week have been four-time European champions FC Barcelona.

And ahead of their own training session on Wednesday, the England Women’s squad took time out to observe the Spanish giants train – something Sanderson said was a privilege.

“It was a really great experience. You can never get used to watching elite professionals like that train. 

“I’ve been quite lucky because in the last week I’ve met Liverpool players and was able to watch them train. Roma as well, and now Barcelona – all in the space of seven days. I feel really lucky.

“It’s what St. George’s Park is all about though and they’ve been really friendly. 

“They’ve come up to us and we’ve spoken to them. I speak a bit of Spanish because I spent almost a year playing over there for Espanyol.

“I think that has helped because when you can speak the language they are more open to you.”

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