England interim boss Hege Riise has said she wants her players to adapt to her style of play when they face Northern Ireland on Tuesday.
England will host Northern Ireland in a friendly on Tuesday in what will be the Lionesses’ first international game in 11 months.
Riise was named interim boss in January following the departure of Phil Neville to become head coach of Inter Miami for David Beckham.
After hosting her first handful of training sessions in St George’s Park this weekend, Riise is excited about the potential of the group and says she wants to see how they can implement her methods after just a few days together.
“It’s been so exciting. All the players are really excited to play for England. It’s been a wonderful few days,” Riise said ahead of her first game as Lionesses interim boss.
“I don’t feel [English football] is it different, it is very competitive. I think the session we had was hard work, a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of energy.
“[On the training pitch] we’re not making a lot of changes. Maybe a game changer in attacking, trying to work on how we’re going to break a low block, working on how we’re going to press. We tried to put in a few pieces in the few days that we had.
“It might be a bit of an overload for the players with the team meetings and everything. We feel like the players are really excited and want to do everything. [we ask].
“If they don’t understand, they ask questions so that we can get a good answer from each other.
“It was intense, non-stop 24/7. It’s a pleasure for us, we had individual meetings to get to know the players better.
“I want to see what we’ve been doing in training. I want to see them try things that are new to them. I want to see them try to adjust to what we ask them. If we can see that in the game, I’ll be delighted. We worked hard to make our game the way we wanted it to be. “
Houghton: everyone can’t wait to impress ahead of Olympics
The Lionesses begin Tuesday’s game with the yet-to-be nominated GB manager for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, ahead of the selection of an Olympics final squad of just 18 players, compared to the current team of 21 women.
England captain Houghton, who will allow Jill Scott to take the armband for her 150th appearance in England, has said the whole team is eager to earn a place in what is a super-competitive race for the 2021 Games.
“Everyone is just eager to impress to come back to England. The numbers we have in the squad are a smaller squad to prepare for the Olympics for the next few months.
“It means we’re together, it’s been weird with the lockdown and Covid. When we’ve been on the grass, everyone tries to impress.
“We all know that in life, in football and in sport, there are always changes. We have had a lot of them in the last few months.
“Hege is very calm and very reserved, but when she speaks you listen. I think the type of player she is is the offensive style of play. It’s good to know what she wants these last days.”
Shiels relishes test against ‘England might’
Northern Ireland boss Kenny Shiels said he was eager to see how his part-time workers measure up against “the might of England” on Tuesday.
Shiels’ side will use the game at St George’s Park to prepare for their two-way play-off for Euro 2022 in April against an opponent who has yet to be named.
They have won their last four group qualifiers and, in their last game in December, beat the Faroe Islands 5-1 to clinch a play-off berth.
“We know we have girls who are nurses, who work at B&Q and Lidl and all that stuff, so they won’t be conditioned like the English players are,” said Shiels.
“It’s a major drawback, but we’re taking this blow and we’re going to try to show some courage to face England’s might. That’s what we’re doing.
“I am sure that we will take advantage of it and that we will take advantage of it for the next game, which will also be very difficult.
“They’re going to play faster than we’re used to, they’re going to be stronger than what we’re used to, everything.
“All the assets it takes to be an athletic athlete, they have them, so why wouldn’t it be a great experience for us to visit that and try to challenge that?
“I think he’s the perfect opponent. If we work hard and improve how quickly we can play and how precisely we can play, that’s the whole point and the logic of it.”