The Lionesses have changed the perception of women’s football, says Jermaine Jenas | Soccer

Sarina Wiegman's England team is just one step away from making history

Sarina Wiegman’s England team are one step away from making history (Image: Getty)

Former England midfielder-turned-TV presenter Jermaine Jenas says men have chosen the Lionesses who have changed perceptions and won the heart of the nation.

Did England’s finals give you a chance to talk football?

I do The One Show and it’s not often that we talk about football but I’ve had a lovely chilled time the last few nights talking about it exactly! It shows the growth and reach of the game and the connection the Lionesses have with the fans. The key to that is the way they play football – people don’t want to watch a boring team and this group play with a fearless nature and wear their hearts on their sleeves.

Was this tournament a crossover moment for men’s football fans?

All I know is the interactions I have with my friends texting me and in the group chats I’m in saying England is absolutely on fire here and the comments tell me men are engaged are. Maybe you’ve always been involved with women’s football. I don’t know what the male/female ratio is at the England games, but I do know that everyone is behind this dedicated group of footballers. You have the country behind you.

Did you get that back heel like Alessia Russo’s goal against Sweden?

Alessia Russo scored one of the tournament's goals with a daring heel-heel against Sweden

Alessia Russo scored one of the goals of the tournament with a bold back heel against Sweden (Image: Getty)

Ha ha, many times! All goals are about moments and you do that in the first game of the season, nobody flinches. But this was arguably the Lionesses’ biggest game on home turf, with all eyes on them in front of a huge TV audience on BBC One. To do this, history is created and a wave of youth, boys and girls, trying to recreate it.

It’s great to imagine kids across the country “going to make a Russo”…
Kids will have great fun recreating this goal just like the famous ones
Wayne Rooney’s overhead kick or Michael Owen’s goal against Argentina in 1998. I can imagine kids now pretending to be Alessia Russo (above) and that’s the point.

How did England recover from a slow start against Sweden?

The timing of things that went England’s way – they were killer for Sweden. The Swedish fans, the coach, the players would have said: ‘Oh no, this is not our day.’ The Mary Earps save, they hit the bar. England scored at great times.

Will Sarina Wiegman make changes?

This team is in a good rhythm and you don’t tinker with that – you let it be. I know a lot of people will be asking for Alessia to start now, but can Ellen White have the same impact off the bench?

Can we beat Germany in the final?

Finals are very ugly, there will be a lot of pressure on the Lionesses to get that win and it could be something like a set piece or a mistake but I think it will go into extra time and England will get the job done .

MORE : Björn Ulvaeus says Lionesses’ use of Abba songs made Swedish defeat more bearable

MORE : England’s male stars lead the praise for the Lionesses as they reach Women’s EURO final

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Nate Jones

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