Mark Sampson: All players on track to be fit for France match

By Jo CurrieBBC Sport
England manager Mark Sampson
Manager Mark Sampson says all players are on track to be fit for England's match against France on 9 June

England manager Mark Sampson says he expects all of his players to be fit for England's first match of the Women's World Cup.

Sampson named a number of players who were recovering from injuries when he announced his squad last month.

England start their campaign against France on 9 June.

"We're in a great place in terms of the physical condition of the players, building towards that game," Sampson told BBC Radio 5 live.

"I said right from the start when the squad was named that I was very confident every player will be fully fit and fresh for the first game.

"At the moment we're on track for that."

Captain Steph Houghton was one of nine players called up to the squad by Sampson who were either suffering with or returning from injuries, including four of his six strikers.

Toni Duggan, Jodie Taylor and Ellen White were selected despite recent knee troubles, with fellow forward Fran Kirby also struggling for fitness.

Defender Lucy Bronze made the squad after missing the start of the season following knee surgery, while midfielders Jordan Nobbs and Karen Carney also had knocks.

Goalkeepers Karan Bardsley and Siobhan Chamberlain missed a number of Women's Super League matches with foot and finger issues.

Steph Houghton
Steph Houghton led England for their final warm-up match against Canada before the World Cup

A number of those players started for England in last week's final warm-up game before the World Cup, which they lost 1-0 against host nation Canada.

"It was crucial for all the players to get some minutes in that game under their belts," Sampson said.

England begin their World Cup campaign with a match against the highly-rated France side in Moncton on Tuesday. They then face Mexico on 13 June, also in Moncton, before travelling to Montreal to play Colombia four days later.

Sampson said he was confident his side would get better as the competition went on.

"We didn't want players to peak towards the end of the WSL season or peak in that Canada game in a pre-World Cup warm up match," he added.

"We want them to peak during this tournament and I'm really confident we can be ready for that French test and then build up physicality and build up momentum throughout the tournament."

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