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Jordan Nobbs insists the depth in England's squad has hardly been stronger as Phil Neville's side get set to launch head first into World Cup preparations.
The Lionesses defeated Wales in August to reach next summer's tournament in France, looking to better the third-place finish they secured three years ago and with a squad continually nipping at each other's' heels for places in the starting XI, Nobbs is confident they are certainly a team to be reckoned with on the grandest stage of all.
Now the key focus will see Neville shore up his best team, with October's friendly against Australia at Craven Cottage the first step on that journey in the eyes of Nobbs. "It's a chance for everyone to show what they can do. It's a team sport, so you want everyone to do well, but individually you want to impress as well," said the 25-year-old.
"There is probably the most depth since I've been involved. When I came in as one of the young ones there was probably only me, Lucy Bronze and Toni Duggan, whereas now there is more than three younger players coming up - there are eight, nine, ten or 11 players coming through and fighting for places. There is definitely more growth in the game and Phil is definitely giving players an opportunity to show what they can do.
"We don't know what Phil is going to decide nearer the World Cup and what squad he'll go with. It's always exciting as a player and I like that pressure - I want to perform and get picked, so I think it's crucial we're playing well for our club and playing well in these friendlies."
Nobbs first entered the senior set up in 2013 but has already racked up more than 50 England appearances, set to play a key role in France next year. The Arsenal midfielder is under no illusions that a place in the squad will be handed to her however, knowing just how important each and every game is between now and the World Cup opener on June 7th. That includes the October 9th clash with Australia at Fulham's Craven Cottage, a match which Nobbs knows will be an exciting test of England's credentials against the world's best teams.
"I've played Australia once before and they were very quick on the counter attack," Nobbs added. "They were quite physically fit and we need to be careful with their speed. They have very quick and nippy players up front, so I think that will be their strength on the counter.
"That's the reason we're in this game and want to be in World Cup finals because we want to compete against the best and beat them.
"We want to be improving and these games aren't something we want to lose, so it's still crucial that we perform, play well and get our confidence up leading into the World Cup.
England Women face Australia in an international match at Fulham FC's Craven Cottage on 9 October (KO 7pm). Tickets £10 Adults/£1 Concessions at www.thefa.com/tickets.
(by Luke Baker, Sportsbeat)
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