Everton Ladies defender Gabby George says this week’s Nordic Tournament will prove a useful barometer for England Under-23s.
The Lionesses’ Next Gen group are in Sweden to play three fixtures against some of the strongest international sides at that age group. On Tuesday they face the hosts, before taking on USA on Friday (9 June) and Norway on Monday (12 June).
George, in her first full season as an Under-23 international, is targeting three straight wins in the competition and hopes that by doing so, the squad lays a foundation going forward.
“I have played in the Nordic Tournament before at Under-17s level and it is a great opportunity to play against top quality sides,” said the 20-year-old. “It gives us a good idea of where we are at as a country and as a team.
“At Under-23 level, there are no major tournaments like European Championships or World Cups so competitions like this give us the chance to press your claims for a place in the squad or to try to catch the eye of the senior squad staff.
“Every game you play in, you play to win. That’s the way I have been brought up, and it's drummed into you with England. Especially when you get into the Under-23s, it becomes about winning. It helps you take that next step up into the seniors. You can have your worst game but as long as you get the three points or the win then its good enough.
“The likes of Norway, Sweden and the US are strong on the international scene so it’s a great chance to see where we are at and what we still need to do to improve.”
George herself is no stranger to international football, having represented England at Under-17 and Under-19 level before making the step up into the Under-23s.
She has a good idea what to expect from the three opponents the Lionesses will face over the next week.
“I expect Norway and Sweden to be similar,” she added. “They’ll be very well organised and set out well. They are disciplined but can still play. They will be tough to break down but we are confident we can do that. We just have to see what quality we have got.
“Then the USA are known for being fast, strong and physical. But I don’t think we are far off that ourselves so we will be able to give them a good match.
“England are a little bit of a mix between the two. In the younger age groups you are taught to be disciplined and organised, but now we are in the Under-23s you have to be stronger and quicker than everyone else. So I see us a nice mix of both styles we will face.”