View: Aston Villa Women duo must remain patient for England World Cup spots
Aston Villa duo Lucy Staniforth and Jordan Nobbs must remain patient and keep faith that their performances in the West Midlands will be enough to earn a spot on the plane for the Lionesses World Cup squad later this year.
Staniforth, formerly of Manchester United, and ex-Arsenal player Nobbs both switched clubs during the winter window due to their lack of playing time in the WSL this season – and the knock-on effect this could have on their chances for the World Cup.
And since joining Carla Ward at Villa, both have been mainstays in the side and helped propel Villa up the table to fifth place in the WSL table. Their introduction has sparked an unbeaten run of four games in all competitions, including an impressive 1-1 draw against title-chasing Manchester City.
Nobbs and Staniforth both got their accounts underway in front of goal against Brighton, and the ex-Arsenal legend was rewarded for her form with a late call-up to England’s 26-player squad for the Arnold Cup that kicks off on Thursday evening (16 February) against South Korea.
Speaking exclusively to Villa News, The Athletic’s Dan Bardell urged both to remain patient and look to follow in the footsteps of former Villan Jill Scott, who eventually played a key role in the Euro 2022 victorious campaign after coming from the periphery of proceedings.
He said: “We saw it with Jill Scott last season. She came to Villa, and she hadn’t played that many games, but she kept herself ticking over, and she got herself into that World Cup squad and got plenty of game time.
“I think it’s a case of keeping themselves fit, making sure they’re in the Villa team, and I think they have a huge chance of being in that World Cup squad.
“Villa Women are going well at the moment after signing both of them in the January transfer window, and they look to have added that bit of extra experience in the middle of the park for Ward.
“Villa are going places, and Sarina Wiegman will be aware of what’s going on at Villa, and if they both keep themselves in the team, they stand a huge chance.”
Villa supporters will be hoping that Nobbs will be awarded some substantial game time in the upcoming matches during the international break after Fran Kirby’s ill-timed injury, but even if not, her leadership qualities should make her an indispensable part of the wider set-up.
For Staniforth, she must keep her head down, keep putting in consistent performances for Villa and hope Wiegman comes calling further down the line.
With plenty of football still to play in the WSL and Villa pursuing the best-of-the-rest spot in the league, both midfielders have plenty of time to prove their worth to the Lionesses manager.
In other Aston Villa news, the club face competition from Barcelona to secure the signing of a striker at the end of the season.