Arsenal star enjoys seeing England kept on their toes as Wiegman pushes for perfection before Euros squad update | The Sun

BETH MEAD says Sarina Wiegman is keeping the Lionesses on their toes with the England chief set to name her Euros squad.

And the forward, 27, is relishing the possibility of going up against her club team-mates on the national stage should she make Wiegman’s final cut.  

A close family bereavement kept the head coach away from the camp for her provisional 28-strong Lionesses group last week.

Her planned Euros squad announcement was delayed as a result.

All eyes will be on the squad list released with Wiegman expected to reveal a trimmed-down total of 23 players on Wednesday, a day before England’s pre-tournament duel with Belgium.

Mead, who was voted Arsenal’s Player of the Season by Gunners’ fans, said: “Sarina is keeping us on our toes and she’ll always expect more.

“No team is perfect but she’s striving for perfection and that’s what we want as well.

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“She’s given me a lot of confidence on the pitch and in training.

“It’s just been easy for me to go on the pitch and do what I know I can do and have the backing of my manager.”

Last term Mead put on some eye-catching performances for her country as well as the Gunners.

The forward netted 12 goals in eight of England’s World Cup qualifying matches with the team yet to lose a match since Wiegman’s commenced her role in September.

Mead’s efforts include a history-making hat-trick against Northern Ireland at Wembley last October.

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Goals that saw her become the first England Women’s international player to net three times at the stadium.

And the Arsenal ace, who was left out of the Team GB’s squad ahead of the Tokyo Olympics last August, believes her game has evolved under Netherlands-born boss   

Mead added: “For me, I’ve known where I’ve stood and what she’s expected of me. I’ve been a lot freer.

“I guess I’ve figured out a little bit how to channel my anger and energy into my football a little bit better now.

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“I’m a bit more confident and I’m in a good headspace, my football has been good so I’m just trying to channel that energy in the right way.”

On July 6 England will face Austria in their European Championship opener at Old Trafford

That match could see Mead potentially go up against her Gunners’ team-mates Laura Weinrother and goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger should the trio be selected for Euros duty.

The last clash between the sides ended in a slim 1-0 victory for the Lionesses in a World Cup qualifier clash at the Stadium of Light with Ellen White on the scoresheet.

Mead said: “It's sometimes weird going against your club team-mates because you always have an expectation of each other that you know what they're all

“When we played Austria last year Manu (Zinsberger) was adamant that she wasn't going to let me score and she didn't that day. She made some great saves.

“I'm excited for the Euros in general and that first game against them.

“There's nothing better than the possibility of playing in a game like that in your own country and going up against familiar faces.”

Alongside Demi Stokes Mead has been backing a campaign to get more children involved in the grassroots game via the McDonald’s Fun Football programme.

The scheme aims to provide free football coaching to one million five to 11-year-olds across the UK over the next four years.

It comes as a report published in May claimed the rising cost of living has led 2,600 grassroots clubs to fold in the past year.

In addition, 58 per cent of parents say affordability had gotten the way of play.

Mead said: “It's sad to think there are parents who are stressed about whether their kids will be able to play football or if they will have to miss out because of costs.

“We have got the next generation (of players) to think about as we're not going to last forever as professional athletes.

“We need them to be doing better than us and there could be a diamond in the rough at a grassroots level who has the potential to be the next England captain.

“It's important we provide them with initiatives to keep them involved in the game.”

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