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Hege Riise likes what she sees as England Women end hiatus with big win

England v Northern Ireland – Women’s International Friendly – St Georges Park
(Image credit: FA Handout)

Hege Riise admits she has some tough choices ahead after watching England Women thrash Northern Ireland 6-0 in her first game in temporary charge at St George’s Park, where Ellen White scored a hat-trick.

The Lionesses had not played since March last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, with matches against Germany and Norway cancelled. However, they wasted little time in Tuesday’s behind-closed-doors friendly.

Manchester City striker White struck twice in the first half, when Lucy Bronze was also on target, before completing her treble in the 48th minute to take her tally of international goals to 37.

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Rachel Daly added a fourth from close range, and Ella Toone marked her debut with England’s sixth from a penalty with 15 minutes left.

Midfielder Jill Scott, meanwhile, made her 150th England appearance, becoming only the second women’s player to reach the tally.

Following Phil Neville’s departure last month, former Norway midfielder Riise has been appointed in temporary change with Holland boss Sarina Wiegman due to take over permanently during September.

Riise feels there is plenty to be positive about heading on into 2021.

Ella Toone of England celebrates with team-mates Jill Scott and Rachel Daly

Jill Scott (centre) celebrated her 150th England cap (FA Handout/PA Images)

“I think the performance was excellent. It looked fun,” she said. “You see the character. They were fighting for 90 minutes.

“All the subs that came on seemed comfortable, supporting the ones that were already playing, and the connection between the players.”

Riise added: “You could see the small things you don’t on the TV, the details and the movements, so it was good for me to see them live.”

The former Norway midfielder is also set to either manage or be assistant boss of the Great Britain squad for the delayed Tokyo Olympics later in the summer.

“This is my first game and to see them in this environment helps make decisions,” she said.

“After this we will analyse the game, how we can break down low-block teams even more. Mostly for me, to just see the players in this environment helps to make decisions going forward. There will be some hard discussions for us.”

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Riise added: “We have a competitiveness in the squad and we are working towards something which we can achieve.

“This is really a good group of players which we can select from. Everything is building up for going forwards.”

White headed into the current international break as the Women’s Super League’s all-time top scorer, and having netted four times in her last five league appearances.

“To play for England again, I was running around with a smile on my face, because it has been a long time coming,” said the 31-year-old.

“There was so much expectation, and the whole squad, coaching staff had put a lot of work in this week, so we are really delighted with the result.”

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Northern Ireland boss Kenny Shiels saw his depleted squad outplayed, but will regroup for their upcoming European Championship play-off.

“England are stronger and quicker than us and that was a big obstacle for us to overcome,” Shiels said on BBC Sport.

“It was unfortunate, but the result doesn’t matter. We found out about each other and the understanding how we want to play.”

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