Rachel Daly is determined to secure the starting striker position for England, surpassing Alessia Russo, after expressing frustration for being on the bench during the Lionesses’ World Cup opener.
England emerged as 1-0 winners against Haiti, ranked 53rd in the world, with Georgia Stanway’s penalty being the solitary goal of the game.
Prior to the match, there was a significant decision for head coach Sarina Wiegman to make regarding the starting forward, given the competition for places within the squad.
Russo has been England’s preferred striker since the retirement of Ellen White last summer, but Daly was the top scorer in the Women’s Super League (WSL) last season.
When asked if she was frustrated to be on the bench for England’s opening game, Daly responded: “I think anyone would be.”
“No one is happy to sit on the bench. If you are, then you are not in the right place, not in the right career.”
“It’s a tough place for Sarina to be, to pick the team. I respect her decisions and I will support Alessia all the way and obviously I know Beth [England] will do the same.”
“I think that’s the beauty of having a competitive squad. I think everybody is fighting for a position.”
“It’s a headache Sarina has to deal with in multiple positions. I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes, making such crucial decisions coming into tournaments.”
“But she’s a fantastic manager, we respect all of her decisions. It proved against Haiti that it works, so we are happy.”
“I think movement is probably one of my strengths. I just tried to come on and unsettle the defenders, following Alessia’s remarkable effort.”
“She did brilliantly again, and I am always ready when called upon.”
England’s struggles in attack are not a new phenomenon, as they have failed to score from open play since April. However, Daly remains unfazed.
“I mean, you could attribute it to a number of factors, but I believe we are still a relatively new side,” she commented.
“We have experienced several player losses due to injuries and retirements. We are still building, but I don’t consider it a worry or concern at the moment. Hopefully, more goals will come.”
England’s opening win has put them in a favorable position in Group D, with both Wiegman’s team and Denmark on three points.
Their upcoming clash in Sydney on Friday could secure a spot in the last-16 for the Lionesses with another victory.
Despite a mixed performance against Haiti, the team is not overly concerned as they recall their Euro 2022 campaign, which began with a lackluster 1-0 win over Austria before going on to claim the championship.
“The girls were just saying that actually,” Daly revealed. “It feels like deja vu.”
“But, look, 1-0, three points on the board, we will take that. That’s all that matters in the group stage. So, with three points on the board, we are satisfied.”
“Obviously, we are coming off a break after the season, but I wouldn’t say that we are rusty.”
“Haiti is a fantastic side and they are a force to be reckoned with. I believe they will cause some problems. Credit has to be given to the opposition as well, they were exceptional.”