Lionesses: 'Superstar'-in-making Grace Clinton can be England Women mainstay for years

Superstar: Grace Clinton (The FA via Getty Images)
Superstar: Grace Clinton (The FA via Getty Images)

The first time that Sarina Wiegman rang Grace Clinton to tell her she was in the Lionesses squad, the midfielder missed the call.

The 20-year-old has bad phone signal where she lives, but at the third time of asking, the England manager finally got through to give her the good news.

Clinton has certainly answered England's call now, though, after marking her debut on Friday with a goal in the 7-2 victory over Austria.

The midfielder excelled playing as a No8 alongside Ella Toone and deserves to keep her place for tonight's friendly against Italy at the same Spanish venue in Algeciras.

Wiegman wanted this training camp in Spain to give her food for thought ahead of the Euro 2025 qualifiers, starting in April — and Clinton is ensuring that is the case.

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

The midfielder is enjoying a brilliant season after leaving Manchester United in the summer to join Tottenham on loan.

Clinton has five goals and three assists in 18 appearances for Spurs, and their manager, Robert Vilahamn, is convinced that she will go right to the top.

"She will be the next superstar in this country, if you ask me," says Vilahamn. "In the future, she's going to start as a 10 in the national team, I'm quite sure of that."

England have had a settled side under Wiegman, but the No10 role is one position that feels up for grabs.

Fran Kirby has struggled with injuries for the past 12 months and will miss tonight's game due to a knee injury, while Toone's form has been mixed this campaign. The jury remains out on whether Lauren James is best out wide or through the middle.

She will be the next superstar in this country, if you ask me

Sarina Wiegman

All of that could play into Clinton's hands, whose eye for goal makes her stand out.

She is excellent off the ball, too, and that is why Wiegman was comfortable playing her as a No8 against Austria.

It was a new role for Clinton, but Wiegman wanted to try it out so she could experiment England playing in a 4-3-3 formation, instead of the more commonplace 4-2-3-1.

Georgia Stanway impressed as the Lionesses's solitary holding midfielder, with Clinton and Toone connecting well ahead of her as the two No8s.

"She [Clinton] plays like a natural," says Wiegman. "It was a new role for her [against Austria], so we did some tactics and some individual things, and you can tell she takes things on board. She picks up the things we talk about very quickly."