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Phil Neville says England are starting ‘journey’ but must expect to beat Germany

England v Germany – Women’s International Friendly – Wembley Stadium
(Image credit: John Walton)

England boss Phil Neville says the Lionesses are at the start of a journey but has stressed the target will be victory when they play Germany away later this month in their first match since March.

Neville’s side, last in action seven months ago at the SheBelieves Cup, take on the Germans in a friendly in Wiesbaden in two weeks’ time.

Two-time World Cup winners Germany – second in the world rankings, four places higher than England – won 2-1 at Wembley when the sides last met in November 2019.

England's last meeting with Germany ended in a 2-1 win for the latter at Wembley in November 2019 (John Walton/PA).

England’s last meeting with Germany ended in a 2-1 win for the latter at Wembley in November 2019 (John Walton/PA).

They played two European Championship qualifiers in September, registering 3-0 wins against the Republic of Ireland and Montenegro.

England will be hosts of the tournament that has been rescheduled for the summer of 2022.

And Neville – who is leaving his post next year with Holland boss Sarina Wiegman replacing him – said at a press conference on Tuesday: “Even though we’re at the start of our journey, and that’s really important, where we’re building towards the Euros in two years’ time, the expectation level of us all from top to bottom is that we want to go to Germany and win the game.

“We expect to go to Germany and compete really well. I thought they were the better team at Wembley, and at the SheBelieves Cup game (a 2-2 draw in 2018), I thought we probably deserved to win that.

“We know they are a really, really top team. They’re ahead of us in terms of their journey at this moment in time.

“But my expectation as a manager is I want us to go to Germany and compete, I want us to put on a performance and I want us to expect to go for the win. That’s not going to change whoever I put out on the pitch.”

Neville has named a 28-player squad ahead of the Germany match, which includes Lucy Bronze and Nikita Parris.

Manchester City full-back Bronze is back after missing the SheBelieves Cup campaign and then pulling out of a training camp at St George’s Park last month, both times because of injury.

Lyon forward Parris was not part of the squad for the training camp due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

There were seven new call-ups in that squad, and four of those are also in this group – Manchester United’s Millie Turner and Ella Toone, City’s Esme Morgan and Chelsea’s Niamh Charles.

Asked about those players, Neville said: “Maybe in the last camp it was to expose these younger players to the environment. This squad, they have been picked on merit, because they are playing fantastic for their clubs, and because I believe they are good enough to play against Germany.”

Atletico Madrid winger Toni Duggan is among the players who have missed out.

Toni Duggan has not been included in Neville's 28-player squad (Richard Sellers/PA).

Toni Duggan has not been included in Neville’s 28-player squad (Richard Sellers/PA).

Neville said it had been a “really difficult decision”, with factors having been the 2020-21 Spanish top-flight only starting earlier this month and the strength of the competition in Duggan’s position.

Neville confirmed Jordan Nobbs was absent due to an injury sustained with Arsenal, calling it a “big loss for us.”

He also said Nobbs’ fellow midfielder Jill Scott would be guaranteed to make win her 150th cap in either the Germany match or the friendly against Norway at Bramall Lane on December 1 which completes England’s fixtures for 2020.