Ex-England boss Hope Powell bigs up current side for Women’s World Cup this summer

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Former England boss Hope Powell reckons the Lionesses have never been more ready for a shot at World Cup glory.

Phil Neville’s team head for France next month among the favourites to lift the trophy for the first time after finishing third four years ago.

The tournament promises to be the biggest in the history of women’s football where England will face Scotland, Japan and Argentina in Group D.

Powell, who was in charge of the national team for 15 years, insists huge strides have been made with the professional support now on a different level.

And the coach who kept Brighton in the WSL in their first season among the elite this year reckons the new young stars are reaping the rewards.

The England Women’s team are among the favourites at this summer’s World Cup

Several of the senior players from Powell’s tenure, such as Steph Houghton , Jill Scott , Karen Carney and Karen Bardsley remain key members of the squad.

And Powell said: “The Lionesses have so many good players, some of the senior ones I worked with for a long time as the England manager.

“Some of them and the younger ones we have come across with Brighton this season, clubs packed with internationals and usually on their game against us.

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Hope Powell coaching England back in 2012

“The next generation of players coming through with England are enjoying the benefits of what has been put in place.

“The Women’s Super League is completely full-time, the access to the expertise in terms of diet, nutrition, strength and conditioning. There is more support around that.

“So the younger generation coming through can only benefit from that, and it can only benefit England in the World Cup.

The squad benefits from the experience of senior players such as Steph Houghton

“We have a really good side, work that was done before laid a foundation for what we are seeing now. It is very exciting.

“And it is a more level playing field internationally than it was 10 years ago, maybe even five years ago. Having a fully professional league helps that.

“It puts us in with a realistic chance of doing well in France. Exactly how well depends on many things – the other teams, and maybe a bit of luck as well.”

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