England squad hit by virus, Bright 'major doubt'
LE HAVRE, France -- England's preparations for their Women's World Cup quarterfinal against Norway have been hit by a virus doing the rounds with defender Millie Bright a concern for Thursday's game.
Bright and captain Steph Houghton are both "major doubts," according to manager Phil Neville.
"Steph [is a doubt] because of the tackle, we are hoping she takes part in some training today, that is the key for Steph," Neville said. "Millie has got a virus that is going a little bit through the camp so she is probably more of a doubt than Steph. We are going to give them right to the last minute to be fit."
Star right-back Lucy Bronze has also been ill and was pulled from Tuesday's media opportunity on the advice of doctors, but Neville says she should have recovered in time to face Norway. The virus is understood to have impacted others in the squad.
"We're travelling round together, you're going to pick up bugs along the way," Neville said. "Injuries and illnesses, we've had none, touch-wood apart from one or two. It's par for the course, it happens in life, it's a virus -- she'll more than likely be fit, but at this moment in time, she's a doubt."
If Bright and Houghton are ruled out, then England will turn to Leah Williamson and Abbie McManus to fill the void.
"You guys [the media] have had an obsession with my rotation for the last 18 months," Neville said. "What I would say is that the players we have played, for instance Leah Williamson playing against Japan at SheBelieves, Abbie McManus played in the first two games of SheBelieves."
McManus, who has 15 England caps, has made just one appearance at the World Cup so far, starting in the 1-0 group stage win over Argentina.
"Abbie's form over the last 18 months, it is for moments like this that we can just say 'no problem'. We just bring two people in who know the system and the style and have utter belief and confidence in each other.
"It is a seamless transition, you plan for these moments. I said six months ago that we don't want to get to the quarterfinal of a World Cup and throw a young kid in -- so there has been a plan behind it and I am totally relaxed."