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England’s Lauren James ruled out of Euro 2025 qualifiers against France



Aston Villa and France midfielder Kenza Dali said it would not be a statement to beat England, despite wanting to replicate their success in major tournaments.

“It’s difficult to say if it would be a statement if we win. Obviously we want to win but it doesn’t give us a trophy,” said Dali.

“They have the trophy we wanted and a final as well. It’s important obviously for us to win because we are first in the group and we want to keep that place.

“I think we are really similar. I don’t think the gap is big between us. It will play out on details.”

Dali hopes to play a key role having started back-to-back games for France.

“It makes the individual performances a lot easier when you have the luxury to play with amazing players around you,” said Dali.

“What changed for me as well is that I have a coach that trusts me now which makes my life a lot easier – when you feel you share the same values.

“It’s a massive statement for me. [Renard] has a lot of choices and we have an amazing team so when he picks me as a starter I try to give it back.”

Renard managed Cambridge United in 2004 and says there is “big respect” for English football in France.

“We like the intensity on the field, the atmosphere in the stadiums,” he said.

“When I was in Cambridge it was only League Two but the kids were going to schools with the Cambridge United shirts on.

“I was so surprised because for this level in France it is not exactly the same. This is the spirit for English football.”

But Renard insists, despite stating England are favourites, that France are here to win.

“We are not here just to visit Newcastle. We are here to play a competitive game,” he added.

“It will be a fantastic atmosphere and even when it’s against you it’s also pushing you. We know the atmosphere in the English stadiums are amazing so we’re looking forward to this very interesting game.”

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