England Women boss Phil Neville intends to continue using the “immense” Lucy Bronze in midfield as well as at full-back.
Neville deployed the Lyon right-back, who was nominated for the inaugural Women’s Ballon d’Or award last year, as a midfielder for some of the time during the victorious SheBelieves Cup campaign last month.
And Bronze started in midfield in Friday’s 1-0 loss to Canada before moving into her more familiar role in the second half.
When asked about his thoughts on where to play the 27-year-old in the future, Neville said: “I’ll use her in both.
“You look at the second half, the amount of headers she won and the way she drove forward. She’s enjoying it in there (in midfield).
“When they (Canada) went to wing-backs, even though Rachel (Daly) was playing well, I thought there was going to be spare players out there.
“So we got Lucy out to right-back and that’s when they put (Ashley) Lawrence and (Janine) Beckie out there, because they knew the strength of Lucy Bronze. So that was a compliment to her.
— Lionesses (@Lionesses)April 6, 2019
“But I will use her in both positions. She’s immense for us.”
Neville’s side were beaten in the first of their four ‘Road to France’ World Cup warm-up matches after Canada captain Christine Sinclair scored her 180th international goal in the 81st minute at the Academy Stadium, the home ground of Manchester City Women.
The Lionesses did not really pose a threat until City forward Nikita Parris had a strike saved by Stephanie Labbe just before half-time.
England subsequently registered a number of attempts after the break to no avail, with Toni Duggan sending two shots off-target.
Goalkeeper Karen Bardsley did well to deny her City team-mate Beckie, before Sinclair converted on the follow-up after Nichelle Prince’s shot rattled the bar.
After the game Neville declared himself disappointed with the result but “quite happy” overall.
The 42-year-old felt that while his players’ composure in the final third had let them down, they had “tried to be brave”, and he said he was pleased with the test they had been through against a side ranked fifth in the world, two places below them.
England’s next World Cup warm-up game is Tuesday’s clash with Spain at Swindon’s Energy Check County Ground.
Limited tickets for this one, folks! Buy now, be smug later 😎https://t.co/GssucxKf6b
— Lionesses (@Lionesses)April 5, 2019
And Neville said: “Spain will be different to Canada.
“Canada were physical players with experience, with good game management I thought. They had players who always seemed to be in the right position at the right time and covered each other.
“They looked like a team that was coming here to try to upset. They looked like they had that bit between the teeth, and that’s what we expected and what we wanted, because I think it recreated what we are going to get in the World Cup.
“Spain will be probably more of a technical game where they play 4-3-3 and look to interchange in midfield and play five, 10-yard passes rather than a more direct style like Canada played.”