England women under-23s head coach Emma Coates met with the press ahead of their game at the Croud Meadow on Monday night.
England women’s under-23s will travel away to Norway to kick off their season before hosting Belgium at the Croud Meadow.
Their game against Belgium kicks off at 7pm on Monday, September 25 and tickets are on sale now!
On playing at the New Meadow:
“We’re super excited. It’s a great opportunity for us to bring a fantastic group of players together against really good opposition. I’ve been told there’s going to be a lot of fans coming to the game, so we’re really looking forward to the day.”
On the opposition:
“We know Belgium are a possession-based team. We played them in February and April as well, so it’s opposition we’re familiar with. We expect a tough challenge, especially out of possession, but we know we have a lot of strengths and there are areas we’ll look to exploit.”
On the new competition for the WU23 age group this season:
“Everyone can see the growth of the game. Our seniors are doing fantastically well at the moment. The women’s under 23s programme is vital to help bridge the gap from the WU19s into the senior set up. The game is growing at such a rate, it’s getting bigger and bigger. So the new competitive league structure we’ve put in place for the WU23s with other European nations this season gives us a platform and a vehicle to give the players experiences in bigger stadiums against other quality international teams, which will hopefully help as many of them as possible transfer into the senior team.”
On the next phase of growth for the women’s game:
“My main hope is that it continues to grow and we can sustain the growth. I want our England development teams to continue to thrive and for the seniors to keep achieving the successes that we have seen under Sarina [Wiegman]. Then from a domestic side, I want the crowds to keep growing, for there to be more commercial deals and broadcast deals. All of those elements lead to the increased professionalisation of the game which is so important for the players. Ultimately, increased investments boosts performance and one hand feeds the other.”
On why Shrewsbury Town fans should get their tickets:
“Get your tickets! You have the opportunity to see the next generation of Lionesses. We have some superb players so get yourself down to the New Meadow and see them on show.”