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England Women 0-1 New Zealand: five World Cup warmup talking points | Louise Taylor

Karen Carney suddenly seems essential to Phil Neville’s plans and Lionesses’ final ball will need to be far better in France

Karen Carney’s first touch after stepping off the bench – a gorgeous, galvanising reverse pass – seemed emblematic of her ability to raise England’s collective bar. The Chelsea winger or playmaker invariably makes her presence felt in the dressing room but, with Toni Duggan and Nikita Parris struggling in the sort of wide roles they no longer really occupy domestically, she may spend more minutes on French fields than initially envisaged. Only two months ago the 31-year-old feared for her place in the squad but she remains one of Phil Neville’s most technically gifted individuals and surely forced herself into the starting XI against Scotland in Nice next Sunday.

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