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Wales captain Sophie Ingle envious of Chelsea teammates preparing for Euro 2022

Wales captain Sophie Ingle is missing out on Euro 2022, unlike many of her Chelsea teammates (Nick Potts)
Wales captain Sophie Ingle is missing out on Euro 2022, unlike many of her Chelsea teammates (Nick Potts)

Wales captain Sophie Ingle admits she is a “little bit” envious of Chelsea teammates preparing for Euro 2022 and who are keeping a low profile on the squad’s WhatsApp group.

Midfielder Ingle has played a key role in Chelsea’s success under Emma Hayes in recent years, winning the Women’s Super League title three times in her four seasons at the London club.

But whereas a dozen of Ingle’s Chelsea colleagues will be involved at the Euros in England next month, Ingle’s own campaign comes to an end with a low-key friendly between Wales and New Zealand in the Spanish city of Murcia on Tuesday.

Chelsea v West Ham United – FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup – Semi Final – Kingsmeadow
Sophie Ingle (centre) will be watching several of her Chelsea teammates in action at Euro 2022 (Adam Davy/PA)

Asked if she was jealous of those playing in the Euros, Ingle said: “I suppose a little bit. But I’ve processed it that obviously we’re not there.

“It gives us more fuel because I think we’ll be watching those games thinking: ‘Next time around it’s a World Cup and we should be there’. Hopefully we will be there.”

Chelsea quartet Bethany England, Fran Kirby, Millie Bright and Jess Carter form part of Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses squad at the Euros.

Denmark star Pernille Harder, Norway pair Guro Reiten and Maren Mjelde, Holland’s Aniek Nouwen and Sweden’s Magdalena Eriksson will also be among those involved from Chelsea.

But Ingle, who played for Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics last summer, says the chat has not started on the Chelsea WhatsApp group, saying: “It’s quite quiet at the minute.

“Obviously the tournament hasn’t started yet, they’re in their prep camps and probably keeping their cards close to their chest.

“I’m sure it will be (busy) in the next week or so when it kicks off.

“I’ll be watching it because I want to learn as a player. I want to see the teams ranked in and around where we are.

“What they do in this tournament and if they are successful. What works for them and what doesn’t. Can we relay that as a Welsh team?

“We want to put Welsh women’s football on the map and qualify for the World Cup. Not just the World Cup, we want to go on and qualify for the next Euros and so on and so on.”

Wales can guarantee a World Cup play-off spot with victories over Greece and Slovenia in their final qualifiers in September.

New Zealand, at 22, are nine places higher than Wales in the FIFA world rankings – and boss Gemma Grainger believes the Spanish friendly is the perfect preparation for those September qualifiers.

Wales Women v Scotland Women – International Friendly – Parc y Scarlets
Wales boss Gemma Grainger sees the summer friendly with New Zealand as ideal preparation for crucial World Cup qualifiers in September (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Grainger said: “We’re hoping to get a competitive game against higher ranked opposition.

“We know it’s the off season for both teams and this June window can feel different at times.

“But we want to maximise the game and continue our progress with September in mind.

“We’ve got an amazing opportunity this summer with the Euros being on our doorstep, and we’ll learn as much as we can from that to help us moving forward in the future.”