Harry Redknapp: I expect Serena Wiegman to follow Alf Ramsey in...
Harry Redknapp: I expect Serena Wiegman to follow Alf Ramsey in 1966 as England boss faces huge selection call

Harry Redknapp: I expect Serena Wiegman to follow Alf Ramsey in 1966 as England boss faces huge selection call

ALF RAMSEY made the biggest call of his life and it won him the World Cup — how we’re praying the same happens to Sarina Wiegman today. England’s Lionesses are one game away from following in the footsteps of those 1966 heroes. And, just like 57 years ago, the manager faces a massive decision. Back then, Alf — he wasn’t a Sir at that stage — had to choose whether to recall Jimmy Greaves or go with Geoff Hurst in the final against West Germany. This morning in Sydney, Sarina has a similar problem . . . does Lauren James go straight back into the side following her two-match suspension or should she stick with Ella Toone ? It is the sort of head-scratcher any manager would love to have — picking a team to play in the World Cup final. Ultimately, only one thing decides if you’ve got it right and that is whether you’re dancing around on a lap of honour or slumped in the dressing room. There are loads who think Lauren should face Spain, following her sensational performances before her red card against Nigeria. Personally, I would go with the same side that beat Australia 3-1 in Wednesday’s semi-final — and that means Ella, who hit an absolute screamer for the Lionesses’ opener, gets the nod. Most people would probably disagree but I don’t see any reason to change a winning team. It’s about getting the job done one more time and that line-up gives us the best chance. In 1966, the general feeling was that Jimmy would be back for the final. I certainly thought so and I played with Geoff at West Ham . Greavesie was the greatest goalscorer in the world , there wasn’t a player to touch him. It looked the obvious call for Alf to make. Geoff had only made his England debut that February, didn’t play in the group games and probably wouldn’t have come in at all if Jimmy hadn’t been injured against France. But then he scored the winner against Argentina in the quarter-finals and set up the winner for Bobby Charlton in the semi with Portugal. That was enough for Alf. Geoff got the thumbs-up — and we all know what happened next. It couldn’t have gone better for him or the manager . . . or the whole country. What a day that was. Even now, I remember walking into West Ham’s dressing room for pre-season training and seeing Geoff, Martin Peters and, of course, Bobby Moore . I’d only really broken into the first team the year before and now I was playing alongside three World Cup winners. No wonder I couldn’t win a regular place! But enough of all our yesterdays. This is all about the here and now — and England’s chance to be World Cup winners again. And I honestly think that, just like Alf did, Sarina will go with the same team — and have the same outcome. The one big difference, though, is when Alf stuck with Geoff, that was it for Greavesie. There were no subs back then. Not being picked meant not getting on the pitch, end of. At least now Sarina has the safety net of being able to make a change if things aren’t going well. And what an ace Lauren is to have up your sleeve. If the Lionesses are in trouble, Sarina can turn to her for the last half hour, get her running against tired legs in the last few minutes, inject energy into extra-time or whatever. It does give England the chance to throw on a real impact player — although, touch wood, any subs will be coming on to see out the game, rather than save it. Of course, it won’t be that easy, though. The bookies can’t really split the teams and the Spanish side is packed with talent. Ballon d’Or-winner Alexia Putellas, 19-year-old Salma Paralluelo and arguably the world’s best right-back in Ona Batlle . . . they’re certainly not short of star quality. But England have plenty of their own and if a great keeper is the basis for any great team, then the Lionesses have the best in Mary Earps. Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo give us the top striking partnership and Georgia Stanway and Keira Walsh are the female equivalent of Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham in midfield. BETTING SPECIAL - BEST SPORTS BETTING APPS IN THE UK Millie Bright is an absolute rock in defence and alongside her Alex Greenwood would walk into any team for any country. It might take extra-time, maybe even penalties but just like the Boys of ’66, the Girls of ’23 are a special, special side. And I really believe I’ll be raising a glass of wine to England’s World Cup winners when I sit down for my Sunday dinner.

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