FOOTBALL: KAREN Carney says England cannot afford to be complacent when they face Bosnia & Herzegovina on Friday, despite it being one of their easier games on paper.
The Solihull-born star, who played for Birmingham City Ladies from 2011 until 2015, believes England will have to be at the top of their game to ensure they maintain their 100 per cent World Cup qualifying record.
The Lionesses won their opening qualifier against Russia 6-0, while Bosnia beat Kazakhstan 2-0.
Both nations will clash under the lights at Walsall’s Bank’s Stadium on Friday, 7.05pm.
England have the edge in their recent games – winning 1-0 twice in the qualifying campaign for Euro 2017 – but Carney is under no illusions as to the importance of a solid performance.
She said: “You’ve got to always respect your opposition, especially at the international level now.
“The margins are small and teams are getting closer to each other.
“When I first came into the England set up, there was a significant difference between USA, Germany and Japan and everybody else – they were significantly better.
“Germany and the USA are still both super powers, but I think teams are a lot closer to them now.
“Against Bosnia & Herzegovina, we’ll have to work extremely hard. Last time we had to be really patient and believe that a chance would come.”
England’s game with Bosnia & Herzegovina is the first of two qualifiers on home soil in November, with the Lionesses heading to Colchester just four days later.
Mo Marley’s side will take on Kazakhstan for the very first time, and Carney is excited at the prospect of taking the women’s game to its fans.
“It’s important we try and hit as many fans across the country as we can because not everyone is privileged enough to be able to afford to travel to games,” she said.
“They might have school or their parents can’t take them.
“We want to give everyone the best opportunity to come and watch the Lionesses play as frequently as possible.”
Visit www.thefa.com/tickets to purchase tickets for the World Cup qualifying contest.