Neville unfazed by England fitness doubts for World Cup quarter-final

Le Havre - England coach Phil Neville says he is "totally relaxed" despite potentially having to go into Thursday's quarter-final against Norway at the Women's World Cup without either of his first-choice central defenders.

Captain Steph Houghton is struggling with an ankle injury picked up in Sunday's 3-0 win over Cameroon, in which she scored the opening goal, while Millie Bright has a virus.

Both were described by Neville as "major doubts" for the last-eight encounter at the Stade Oceane in Le Havre, but he is not concerned about having to make changes having made a habit of rotating his squad ever since being appointed to the role in early 2018.

"You guys have had an obsession with my rotation for the last 18 months," said Neville at Wednesday's pre-game press conference as he suggested both Abbie McManus and Leah Williamson were ready to step in.

"It's for moments like this that we can just say 'no problem', Steph, Millie, whatever, we just bring two people in that know the system, know the style, have utter confidence and belief in each other and it's a seamless transition.

"You plan for these moments. I said six months ago that we don't get to the quarter-final of a World Cup and throw a young kid in, or throw in somebody we haven't tested or tried, who doesn't know our system.

"There has been a plan behind it, and it is for moments like this where I am totally relaxed."

Houghton scored as England came from behind to beat Norway 2-1 in the last 16 of the 2015 World Cup in Canada.

The winner of Thursday's match will advance to a semi-final against either the hosts France or holders the United States in Lyon next Tuesday.

England are the favourites but Neville is wary of a Norway side who have reached the last eight despite being without exiled star striker Ada Hegerberg.

"They tick every box. They have probably been the surprise team of the tournament because people have been focusing on the top 10 teams in the world," he said, with the Norwegians currently ranked 12th.

"Maybe Hegerberg not coming has given them a cause to show the world they can win without the best player in the world.

"We are probably going to have to jump 10-15 percent in our performance levels to be successful in this game and this tournament."