Karen Carney has backed Ella Toone to use her impressive start to the season at Manchester United to push for a regular England spot.
Toone has caught the eye playing as a number 10 this campaign, scoring twice and providing three assists in the Women’s Super League to help United reach fourth place in the table heading into the international break.
The 22-year-old only made her senior Lionesses debut earlier this year but has scored twice across her four caps.
She has also started both games under new boss Sarina Wiegman and will be looking to continue that run when England host Northern Ireland in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Saturday.
Carney, England’s third-most capped player having made 144 international appearances, has been impressed with Toone and thinks the former Manchester City youngster can make her mark ahead of Euro 2022 next summer.
“Ella has done really well to come in and play in that number 10 position,” Carney told the PA news agency.
“She has been assisting and doing very well for Manchester United and that is just putting herself in the best position – playing, week in week out for her club and playing well – that will put her in the frame.
“Sarina hasn’t got a lot of time, in terms of camp time and grass time she’s going to have to really learn about these players quickly and showing her what you can do in the WSL could be key to that (being in the team at the Euros).
“She’s been at a lot of games already, she probably knows something about the players already but the turnaround is quite quick before the tournament and the preparation time will be really key.”
Carney also singled out two Arsenal players for praise, with Leah Williamson and Beth Mead starting the season well.
Williamson captained England in the comfortable wins over North Macedonia and Luxembourg last month, playing in a midfield role rather than the centre-back position she is more accustomed to at club-level.
“She’s got loads of qualities and she’s still young,” Carney, talking as an ambassador for the Utilita Kids and Girls Cup, said of the 24-year-old.
“She’s heading in the right direction as well to keep getting better and has shown that with the start she has had to this season.
“She can play in midfield just as well as she can in defence – she has lots of big game experience and that kind of thing is key for England and for the manager.
“Arsenal are top of the league and flying and that is no coincidence either – Beth Mead was the top assist provider for England at the 2019 World Cup and she is back to playing some of the best football of the last two years.
“Maybe Viv Miedema gets all the headlines but they are starting to get a real relationship now both of them – there are some people that will get the limelight but I don’t think Beth will be bothered by that, she’ll just want to keep doing what she’s doing and performing the way that she has been.”
:: Utilita have partnered with the EFL to power one of Britain’s biggest junior football tournaments, The Utilita Kids and Girls Cup.
:: As part of Utilita’s work to help kids keep active through playing football, over 22,000 schoolchildren will take part in the six-a-side tournament for the chance to represent their local EFL club and compete for a once in a lifetime appearance at Wembley. To find out more, visit www.efl.com