‘We MUST win’: England manager Simon Middleton confirms his squad for next month’s World Cup, with the Red Roses heavy favorites for the tournament in New Zealand

  • Simon Middleton says England must win the World Cup next month
  • The coach of the England team has chosen a squad of 32 players for the final match in New Zealand
  • Abby Dow is in the squad but there is no place for scrum-half Natasha Hunt
  • The Red Roses are World Cup favorites and have won 25 games in a row

“We have to win,” Red Roses head coach Simon Middleton said on Tuesday after confirming England’s 32-man squad for next month’s World Cup in New Zealand.

Some might misinterpret Middleton’s comments as either overconfidence or a temptation of fate, but in reality they are neither, and simply reflect how far ahead of the rest his team is right now.

England are heavy, heavy favorites to claim world glory in the southern hemisphere and anything short of that will be a failure.

England manager Simon Middleton says his side must live up to their World Cup billing

Middleton admitted it. He is right to be full of confidence and demand execution from his team.

England have won their last 25 games in a row and have a strength in depth and strength that no other nation can match.

“We have to win. This is the best-prepared squad with the best strength in depth that we’ve ever had,” Middleton said. “We are ready to work as much as possible. You can’t guarantee you’ll win because that’s not how it works, but we have everything we could wish for.

“You can see the quality of the players we got by the ones we missed.”

Abby Dow has been included in the 32-man squad despite being out injured from the Six Nations

Abby Dow has been included in the 32-man squad despite being out injured from the Six Nations

Middleton cited Andy Ruiz Jr’s loss to Anthony Joshua and Wimbledon’s shock 1988 FA Cup final win over Liverpool as examples of shocks that could serve as a warning for England. But the reality is that they will need a giant upset to miss out on the final at Auckland’s Eden Park on November 12.

The Middleton side’s main flaw was Natasha ‘Mo’ Hunt, who filled the scrums, but winger Abby Dow got on the scoresheet despite not playing after breaking her leg against Wales in the Six Nations. Dow is still not in full form, but her recovery to even be selected has been remarkable.

“The role of our back nine is very simple,” Middleton said. “Mo plays a completely different game. That’s not a criticism of Mo, it’s completely in line with what we were doing a few years ago.”

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