Jess Park made her first start for England as they secured a 2-1 victory over Italy in the Arnold Clark Cup on Sunday.

The Everton forward played 45 minutes as the Lionesses made it two wins from two in the competition at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

Rachel Daly was the difference for the reigning European champions, scoring both goals to overcome a dogged Italy side. 

Park enjoyed a lively first half but was replaced at half time by the more experienced Jordan Nobbs.

There was bad news for Everton elsewhere in the squad, with Sarina Wiegman revealing that goalkeeper Emily Ramsey had injured her ankle in training with the national team. 

The Manchester United loanee has returned to Everton for treatment. 

The Match

England, captained by former Everton and Liverpool defender Alex Greenwood, were in full control from the first whistle.

Daly had an early effort saved after Park had charged down an attempted clearance.

The Aston Villa striker then put the Lionesses ahead in the 32nd minute with a simple header from Katie Robinson’s cross.

Italy hit back after the break, Sofia Cantore touching the ball home in the 62nd minute to equalise in controversial fashion.

England protested that the ball had not crossed the line as Maya Le Tissier slid in to make the clearance.

There were also questions over whether the ball had gone out of play earlier in the move.

The Lionesses pushed for a second goal and got the winner they deserved in the 71st minute. 

Daly was the difference again, this time with a deft header into the far corner of the net from substitute Lauren James’ cross.

The win maintains Wiegman’s unbeaten record as England boss.

World Cup Hopes

It is a vital time for Jess Park to impress as the 2023 Women’s World Cup draws nearer.

It is only her third senior international call up, but she already has a goal for the Lionesses after notching against Japan in November.

There is immense competition in Wiegman’s squad, who won the Euros last summer.

The Lionesses go to Australia in July as one of the favourites to win the competition, a feat they have never achieved before.

They were knocked out of the 2019 World Cup at the semi-final stage by the USA, who went on to claim the trophy.

However, there are places in the team up for grabs with midfielder Jill Scott retiring in summer and star player Beth Mead potentially ruled out with an ACL injury.

Being picked to start against Italy will be a boost to Park’s hopes of making the squad.

For now her attention will be on the Arnold Clark Cup as England look to retain their title. 

The Lionesses play their final game against second-place Belgium on Wednesday at the Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol.

Belgium also have a perfect record in the competition, making Wednesday’s game a straight shoot out for the trophy.

You can buy tickets for the game here