Ex-England forward Eni Aluko believes incoming head coach Sarina Wiegman’s tactical nous will be the key to taking the Lionesses to the next level.
England have reached the semi-finals of the past two World Cups and the final four of Euro 2017, where they were beaten by a Netherlands side managed by Wiegman.
Wiegman has agreed to replace Phil Neville but will remain in her current role with the Netherlands through to next summer’s rearranged Olympic Games in Tokyo, before beginning her England tenure in September 2021.
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The coach helped the Dutch side win Euro 2017 and reach the final of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, and Aluko feels her ability to get players to buy into her tactics will be pivotal if England are to win tournaments.
“She’s obviously got the best out of the Dutch players and it’s very important for a national team coach to have good relationships with players, it’s a different dynamic to managing a club side,” Aluko told Sky Sports News.
“I’m excited about what she can do for the players to take them to the next level, to make that step up from semi-final to gold.
“I was lucky enough to be at the 2019 World Cup final and tactically she held the United States for 60 minutes because every single player on the Dutch national team knew what they were doing and were clued in to what the manager wanted.
“So I think in terms of going from repeated semi-finals to finals and winning tournaments, she can bring that tactical ability, particularly in World Cups.
“She knows the WSL well too, because there are lots of Dutch players in it, so I think it’s a good fit. I’m excited to see her join next year.”
As well as being tactically astute, Aluko also feels Wiegman will be able to handle the pressure of being in big-game situations with England because of her experience with the Netherlands.
“You do need to be able to cope with the pressure of being in a semi-final and getting it right tactically,” she said.
“Phil Neville has done a great job but I think when you look back at that 2019 semi-final he got it wrong tactically.
“Sarina Wiegman has proved she can take a team over the line and win in the European Championships. I’m sure she can deal with the pressure – she’s worked with men’s teams as well, which is great for a female coach.”
Wiegman ‘in mould of Koeman’
Marcel van der Kraan, Sports Editor of De Telegraaf, told Sky Sports News:
“I think if we had to compare her with a men’s coach then I would say she is the Dutch women’s version of Ronald Koeman.
“Tough but not blunt. Outspoken but never rude. Technically one of the best and because of her stature, [through] what she has created with all the success she has had, she has gained huge respect and also managed to pass that on to her players.
“I think that is why she is a driving force not just for the Dutch national team but women’s football in total.”
Williams: Wiegman has winning mentality
Fara Williams, who is the most capped England international in history, is convinced Wiegman can take the Lionesses one step further and help them win a major trophy.
“In terms of what she has done at international level, it is a fantastic appointment for England. For this England team, the next level for them is winning and I think she has got that in her to take this team to that next level,” Williams told Sky Sports News.
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