Home sport England stars vow to rally round Lauren James after World Cup sending off

England stars vow to rally round Lauren James after World Cup sending off

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England stars vow to rally round Lauren James after World Cup sending off

England’s players will rally round Lauren James after her “Beckhamesque moment of madness” in the team’s penalty shoot-out victory over Nigeria in the World Cup last 16.

Former men’s national team striker Gary Lineker likened the 21-year-old Chelsea forward’s red card for petulantly standing on Michelle Alozie as she lay on the floor to Beckham’s kick-out at Argentina’s Diego Simeone at the 1998 World Cup.

“The @Lionesses down to 10 as Lauren James has a Beckhamesque moment of madness,” Lineker wrote on Twitter.

However, while the former Manchester United star’s sending-off contributed to the team’s difficulties, Sarina Wiegman’s side have progressed to the quarter-finals.

Criticism of James, receiving the side’s first red card since Millie Bright’s dismissal in the World Cup semi-final defeat to the United States in 2019, has been well short of what Beckham received and team-mate Lauren Hemp said she would receive the full support of the squad.

“It’s things that happen in football, it’s not nice to see a red card but I felt like going down to 10 players we dealt with it very well, we were super-resilient and didn’t let them score,” Hemp told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“It’s one of those things. We will get around Lauren James in the coming days, she’s still very young.”

James is likely to face a three-match ban for violent conduct, which would rule her out for the remainder of the tournament.

“We all know Lauren is magic, she is our weapon and it’s a big loss for us but we can’t change that now,” team-mate Beth England added on Radio 5 Live.

“We have an unbelievable squad and players who can fill in in that position and hopefully we can see her again in the tournament.”

Wiegman told Radio 5 Live it was a “very hard lesson to learn”, adding: “It happens unfortunately and of course she doesn’t want to harm anyone.”

Former England defender Anita Asante was critical of James’ 87th-minute reaction to her growing frustration in the game, which finished 0-0 after extra-time.

“I’m really disappointed. One act has kind of tarnished all the good work that Lauren James has done up until this point,” she told Radio 5 Live.

“She is a superstar and hopefully she will grow from this experience.”

Asante was also critical of a lacklustre performance.

“England will go back, analyse the game and hopefully there will be some hard truths in the changing room,” she added.

“They need to hold each other accountable, including that moment with Lauren James.

“England are very lucky to have progressed to the quarter-finals and they definitely need to step up performances if they want to get all the way to a final.”

Another former international Alex Scott was more positive, however, telling BBC One: “When you think about how you go on to win tournaments you need moments of luck, magic, finding a way – which they did.”

On James’ red card, Scott added. “When you are having that frustration it is about controlling it. It is having that maturity and experience on this world stage, which she will get.”

Fara Williams, England’s record appearance holder with 177 caps between 2001 and 2019, said that James’ actions had been “silly and immature”.

“It wasn’t aggressive, it was violent (conduct) but it was silly and immature,” she said.

“I think it is one of those moments when she hasn’t even thought about it. She’s given her a little touch thinking she could get away with it.”