Sarina Wiegman will have ‘massive influence’ despite Covid, says winger Lauren Hemp

Sarina Wiegman in a team huddle
Sarina Wiegman was in the dugout for England’s opening two victories over Austria and Norway

England winger Lauren Hemp said manager Sarina Wiegman will still have a “massive influence” on the team during Wednesday’s quarter-final with Spain if she is absent with Covid.

Wiegman missed Friday’s 5-0 win over Northern Ireland after testing positive and has since been monitored daily.

“She still does the same thing and she is still connected,” said Hemp.

Wiegman has communicated with the squad virtually, while watching training from a distance outside with a mask on.

“It’s a frustrating thing and it’s unfortunate that she’s got it, but we’ve practised for so long for these scenarios and what would happen,” added Manchester City winger Hemp.

“She’s still involved in the sessions remotely, so that’s good to have. We still have fantastic technical staff who have carried on supporting us, so it doesn’t feel much different.

“She has a massive influence [on matchdays] but the whole of the technical staff do.”

The last-eight tie on Wednesday at Brighton’s Amex Stadium sees England come up against a Spain side ranked seventh – one place above them – in the world.

Spain, one of the pre-tournament favourites, won two of their three group games, losing 2-0 to Germany in their second match of the tournament.

Still unbeaten under Wiegman after 16 matches in charge, England won all three of their group games, scoring 14 goals and conceding none.

Hemp said: “It’s important we carry on this run. Everyone has taken so much confidence from the recent games so we need to take that into the quarter-finals.

“[Spain] will be fantastic. I’ve got a lot of respect for them, as do the rest of the team. They will have a lot of possession and we’re ready for that.”

Asked whether Spain had shown vulnerability, Hemp added: “We know they have a lot of threats but we also know there are a lot of opportunities to exploit them, so we’ll definitely try to do that.

“They’re a great side, but we know that on our day we can beat anyone so that’s what we’ll try to do.”

Hemp, 21, also believes there is more to come from her in the tournament.

She went into the Euros in great form, having picked up a record fourth PFA Young Player of the Year award and was Manchester City’s top scorer last season with 21 goals and 10 assists.

“Personally I don’t think you’ve seen the best [of me] yet, but there’s still time,” said Hemp.

“It’s my first major tournament and it’s in England too, so in front of so many fans it’s nerve-racking, I’m not going to lie.

“Being consistent is something I’m thriving towards. I need to remember I’m still young and I’m learning every single day and taking it in my stride. I’ve got a great group of players around me who are supporting me and doing amazing as well.”

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