Laura del Río

England resurgent on the back of their strong league

On Tuesday evening we have the opportunity to witness one of those great games that come around every so often. My last match for Spain was against England and we drew 2-2. But things have changed considerably in recent times and both teams have grown a lot. It is eye-catching how England have gone about it. Changing their manager has been decisive. I worked with Mark Sampson during my spell at Bristol Academy and I took to him immediately. He is a coach with good ideas who adapts the system to his players and depending on the opposition.

But if there has been one key factor in the growth of the England team it has been the English league, after the decision of the federation a few years ago to create a very competitive division with fewer clubs. That has allowed the players to improve. The same thing has occurred with Spain’s under-17 and under-19 sides. The majority of the players in those squads play in Primera, which makes the level considerably better. Spain is now also on the right path with a modern coach who is well-prepared in Jorge Vilda.