England’s Georgia Stanway relishing filling in for injured Keira Walsh in World Cup group finale

Georgia Stanway
Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide Date: 1 August Kick-off: 12:00 BST
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England midfielder Georgia Stanway is confident she can fill in for injury-hit Keira Walsh in the team’s final Women’s World Cup group game against China.

Walsh, 26, is out through injury, though scans confirmed it was not an anterior cruciate ligament knee issue.

Manager Sarina Wiegman did not confirm how long Walsh will be out for.

“I woke up this morning feeling a lot more mature,” joked Stanway, who could fill a more defensive role than usual.

Stanway added: “I’ve just created a little bit of a leadership role with the way that I’m playing. I feel a lot of confidence in my own game and I’ve been consistent off the back of the Euros.

“I’m just trying to keep that momentum. I feel I’ve proven my leadership in the way that I play and lead by example. I’m not afraid to communicate as well so I’ll try and do the two jobs.”

She said Walsh had been “the best teacher without knowing it”.

Wiegman’s side know a point or better on Tuesday would see them progress to the last 16 as Group D winners.

Barcelona’s Walsh, widely considered one of the best midfielders in the world, played all but four minutes of Euro 2022 and had formed a strong partnership with Stanway before her injury occurred in the 1-0 win against Denmark on Friday.

Walsh’s role has been as a holding player, blessed with creativity, with former Manchester City team-mate Stanway alongside her but having a greater licence to roam forward.

“It’s always difficult to see your team-mate, who is also my best friend, go down and in such pain,” said 24-year-old Stanway.

“We will support her as much as we can. There’s 22 players who need to step up and we’ll do what we can for her [on Tuesday]. She will be watching.

“For me, it’s just covering that discipline element and knowing I don’t always have to be running to help with the attack. I need to protect the back four too.

“I’ve played alongside Keira [Walsh] who is the best teacher without knowing it. I’m sure she will be giving me some tips. She’s got trust in whoever is going to be on the pitch.”

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