England’s U19’s got off to great start in their international friendly tournament campaign in Marbella yesterday afternoon, when they beat Finland 4-0.
18 year old Sunderland Ladiesplayer, Neve Herron, who signed a new deal with the club earlier this year, came on in the 66th minute and slotted in at left centre-back, replacing Blackburn’s, Tara Bourne. Despite the frustrations of receiving a red card at the weekend in a league game against Liverpool. Herron showed great determination, composure and confidence out on the pitch.
Herron played in a 3-5-1-1 formation, that manager Gemma Davies switched to from a 5-3-2 in the first half. The change, undoubtedly allowed England to possess the ball a lot more in their own half and middle of the pitch. Creating attacking opportunities and dominance going forward. This is illustrated in the fact that the young Lionesses scored three goals in the second half, and Herron certainly added to that improvement even in the limited minutes she was given.
As you can see from the statistics from Wyscout, Herron boasted a high percentage of successful actions and passes. From the video highlights package, she looked to get the ball forward and had great vision to pick a teammate up on the left wing to start an attack. Particularly with passes towards the aforementioned, Freya Godfrey.
Despite playing in a three back line, England played with a high line along the halfway. This allowed Herron to get forward at times, particularly on the left wing. She allowed herself to be an option, almost as an attacking wing back to provide an alternative approach to getting forward and creating an opportunity.
As it the usual case for when Herron plays for the Lasses, she exuded great confidence and composure, calmly stepping out tackles or executing brilliant turns despite being under pressure. Her play was intelligent, when an opportunity wasn’t present, Herron was happy to start the play again by playing across to a fellow defender or looking to catch the Finland defence off guard with a through ball in between the backline.
Herron also showed great reading and vision within the game on the defence as well. In the highlights I could see her watch the play when Finland were in possession, checking over her shoulder for potential threats or runs by the Finnish forwards and responding quickly. Especially when balls when played in over the top.
Despite only seeing roughly 30 minutes of action, the Sunderland star conducted herself with brilliant grace, composure and confidence. Naturally the attacks from Finland were few and sporadic, but Herron made no mistakes and contributed greatly towards build up and providing an overlapping option on the left wing.
As for the game overall, Grace Clinton kicked off in the scoring for England in the 16th minute, when she capitalised on a defensive error. Clinton had fantastic composure and skill to take the ball past the keeper and leave a defender sliding across the grass, as she coolly placed her shot away.
For the remainder of the half, England dominated in terms of possession and attack. However, it was the triple change made at half time, that paid dividends and allowed England to double their lead.
In the 48th minute, Elissa Boddy, who had only just come on at half time, made it 2-0. Clinton was again involved in the goal, but this time getting an assist, as she selflessly laid the ball off for Boddy to tap in from 6 yards out and on her debut too. There was some impressive build up by England in the centre of the park prior to goal, before Clinton once again drew the keeper off her line, before creating the chance for Leicester’s Boddy.
England made it 3-0 in the 75th minute, when another Leicester City player (currently on loan from Aston Villa), Freya Godfrey, scored a brilliant free-kick from 25 yards out, which pinged off the crossbar and into the net off the keeper.
Godfrey then finished off an exuberate performance by the youngsters. When in 94th minute, she used her pace and agility to run in behind the defenders on the left wing, before cutting inside and hitting the ball expertly underneath the keeper to make it 4-0.
It was a terrific display by the England U19s, who will look to replicate a similar performance next Tuesday when they play against Denmark. I certainly think Herron has made a case to Davies to see more minutes and hopefully she is awarded the time in the rest of the tournement.