Call to Action

Do you want to get to Rapinoes level? – Neville challenges Mead to replicate USWNT stars consistency

The England manager wants to see the Arsenal forward reach a new level after a stunning season in the FA Women’s Super League last year

England manager Phil Neville has challenged Beth Mead to reach Megan Rapinoe’s levels after a fine start to the season with Arsenal.

The former Sunderland forward scored seven goals and provided 12 assists in 19 games for the Gunners last season, earning herself a place in the Lionesses’ Women’s World Cup squad.

After getting five games in France under her belt, Mead has started the domestic campaign with one goal and one assist from three games and Neville has challenged her to raise her level even further.

“Beth’s in the best place she’s been in,” the manager said, when asked who has stood out for him so far this season.

“We were quite tough on her coming off the back of the World Cup and she’s answered everything we’ve asked of her.

“In terms of players that score goals and assist, I don’t think there’s anyone like her in our team, she assists and scores in most games that she plays.

“Her delivery, think back to the World Cup, the cross in the semi-final for Ellen [White], she has an impact in every single game, now it’s just the consistency.

We saw Rapinoe win the big [FIFA The Best] award last week, on the big occasions she delivers. That’s the challenge we’ve set Beth: Do you want to get to that level?

“We’ve shown her the stats, the assists, the goals, we’ve said do you want to reach for the moon?

“You can go left or right here. Do you want to do OK, which is what we’ve seen, or go to the next level?”

Neville also picked out Mead’s Arsenal team-mate Leah Williamson as a player who has impressed him since the FA Women’s Super League started again.

Fellow centre-backs Millie Bright and Abbie McManus have withdrawn from the current squad, who will take on Brazil on Saturday 5 October before travelling to Portugal.

That means 22-year-old Williamson is now in line for her first start since before the World Cup, when she was in the line-up for England’s 2-0 win over Denmark.

“I think what you’ll see from Leah Williamson when she starts tomorrow is her go to the next level,” Neville said.

“She’s been patient. What we’ve said to Leah is she might play in defence or midfield, I see her as both, I really do with her composure and quality.

“That girl has to play for England sooner or later.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *