Sunderland striker faces battle for England chance

Beth Mead celebrates scoring for Sunderland against Reading on Sunday
Beth Mead celebrates scoring for Sunderland against Reading on Sunday
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Sunderland Ladies striker Beth Mead will need to keep banging in the goals to win an England chance.

England manager Mark Sampson says he is so determined to deliver Euro 2017 glory that he has ruled out any experimentation between now and the finals.

There’s never a time to experiment with the England team.

The Lionesses will go top of qualifying Group Seven if they beat Belgium at Rotherham’s New York Stadium tomorrow night. Sunderland keeper Rachael Laws is in the squad after a late call-up after injury to Siobhan Chamberlain.

Sampson’s side are firm favourites to win the group and book their place at the tournament in Holland, and play some weak opposition in the qualifying group with big wins expected.

Yet Sampson has vowed he will not consider new faces until he believes they deserve to be in the team on a regular basis.

Sampson, 33, has yet to hand a cap to last season’s WSL1 top scorer Mead, despite the 20-year-old winning rave reviews for Sunderland.

“There’s never a time to experiment with the England team,” Sampson said.

“Everyone’s got to work for the chance to represent their nation.

“It’s great we’re getting different opinions because it shows there’s an interest in the game, because it’s not so long ago that nobody really cared and nobody knew the players we had.

“So it’s great that people are pushing names out there.

“I understand I’m the person with the hat on at the moment and I’ve got to make the calls and I’ve got to be happy that the group of players I pick is the best group available to represent England.

“You’ve got to remember that teams play in different ways, so what is required at club level is very different to what’s required at international level.

“We’ve got to look at that and assess that and be sure we’ve got the right personalities, the right characters.

“We’re clear on the type of players we need but I’m also confident we’ve got a lot of players out there who have stuck their hand up for selection. The 23 we’ve got have probably stuck their hand up a little bit higher.”