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Sarina Wiegman ‘surprised’ by Arsenal game in Australia scheduled in May

SARINA WIEGMAN admitted to being surprised by Arsenal’s May trip to Australia during a “complicated calendar” of football fixtures.

The Lionesses chief, 54, believes it could be a “hard one to take” for Gunners’ England aces and other players ahead of Euros qualifiers.

Sarina Wiegman questions whether Arsenal's European internationals will have enough time to be prepare for Euros qualifiers following the Gunners' trip to Australia

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Sarina Wiegman questions whether Arsenal’s European internationals will have enough time to be prepare for Euros qualifiers following the Gunners’ trip to AustraliaCredit: Getty
Arsenal players are scheduled to play an exhibition match against Allstars team in Melbourne on May 24

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Arsenal players are scheduled to play an exhibition match against Allstars team in Melbourne on May 24Credit: Getty

The visit for Arsenal, whose stars includes England quartet Alessia Russo, Beth Mead, Leah Williamson and Lotte Wubben-Moy, will entail the WSL side playing an exhibition match in Melbourne.

The game for the Gunners, whose squad includes Australia internationals, is scheduled for May 24.

It will take place seven days before the Lionesses’ Euros qualifier duel with France at St James’s Park.

In February the England Women’s boss highlighted the need for match scheduling to be looked at to ensure players have adequate rest between seasons.

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Of Arsenal’s planned trip Down Under, Wiegman said: “I think for all the players with an already complicated calendar, it’s not good for them to go to the other side of the world very short term, not having time to adapt and play a game against France home and away.

“But I would say that’s not only for the England players, that’s for every European player that goes into qualifiers.

“That’s the thing that will be hard for them to take and to perform at the highest level.

“We had conversations already with Arsenal about the summer and those have been very good conversations.

“We’re on the same page and of course, we all think about how to get players fit and fresh to compete, but also give them rest in this complex calendar.”

Wiegman was speaking to reporters shortly after naming her squad for the Lionesses first two Euros qualifiers taking place next month.

The reigning Euros champs play Sweden at Wembley on Friday 5 April before facing the Republic of Ireland away the following Tuesday.

While centre-back Millie Turner retained her spot there was no return to the squad for her fellow Man United defender Maya Le Tissier. 

Wiegman’s 23-strong group includes Arsenal centre-back Williamson who captained England during their triumphant run in the 2022 Women’s Euros

The Gunners star hopes to make her long-awaited international return after withdrawing from February’s camp due to a hamstring injury.

Williamson’s last appearance in an England shirt was back in April last year when Wiegman’s side beat Brazil at Wembley in the inaugural Women’s Finalissima.

Of Williamson’s return, the head coach said: “She’s recovered really well, and it didn’t take too long, so that was good and now she’s getting into rhythm.

“Of course, she hasn’t played that many games yet, but she’s getting there, and she needs the minutes now.”

Squad announcement aside Wiegman shared her views regarding the issues to player-coach relationships within women’s football.

Leicester City manager Willie Kirk is currently being investigated by the club amid an allegation of player-coach relationship.

Earlier this month managers of Women’s Super League sides were asked about the issue with Aston Villa’s Carla stating such relationships should be a sackable offence.

Wiegman was asked if football authorities or NewCo the organisation set to take oversee the WSL, should introduce rules preventing player-coach relationships,

Leah Williamson could be set to make her England return when the Lionesses face Sweden at Wembley in April

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Leah Williamson could be set to make her England return when the Lionesses face Sweden at Wembley in AprilCredit: Getty

She said: “I think it’s common sense and we all know if we are in this environment that it’s really inappropriate.

“If we all take (on) our responsibility, then things wouldn’t happen.

“But when it happens too often, then you need regulations. I will leave that to others.”

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