Thursday 19 September 2019

'I'm sure they wouldn't be spying' - England not concerned after man spotted watching training from lofty position

England's Ellen White (left) with Nikita Parris
England's Ellen White (left) with Nikita Parris

Phil Medlicott

The English Football Association has no concerns about an incident on Monday in which a man was spotted watching England Women training from a lofty position.

The individual was seen observing as England trained in Limonest ahead of Tuesday's World Cup semi-final against the United States at Lyon's Groupama Stadium.

He moved on after being spoken to by team and FIFA security. The man is believed to be a French local who was walking along a public footpath and happened to take an interest in the session.

England forward Nikita Parris brushed off the incident and dismissed any suggestion the squad were concerned it could have been someone from the US camp.

"They're fully focused on the semi-final like us," she said. "Obviously it's a big game for both teams and I'm sure they wouldn't be spying, using their valuable time before the semi-final.

"When you've got the title of reigning champions and you are currently the number one team in the world I don't think you would be spending your time looking at us training. I'm sure they'll be using the time effectively."

The incident comes after it emerged that at least one member of the US team's staff was in England's hotel on Sunday while Phil Neville and his players were out training.

When asked about that on Sunday, US boss Jill Ellis spoke about it as a visit made on the basis that the hotel was somewhere the team would potentially stay ahead of the final, which also takes place at Groupama Stadium.

Ellis suggested it had "probably" been "my administrator...and her boss" and said "you have to plan ahead", adding: "I think that's pretty normal."

England boss Neville described the visit as "not etiquette" and stressed "it's not something that we'd do", while also saying the incident was "not a concern".

The only player not taking part on Monday as England trained in front of the media was defender Abbie McManus, who sat things out due to feeling unwell.

PA Media

The Left Wing: Ireland's fullback dilemma, World Cup bonding and the squad standby list

Also in Sport