England put their UEFA Women's EURO 2013 disappointment behind them with two wins and 14 unanswered goals in their opening FIFA Women's World Cup qualifiers, but playmaker Karen Carney knows Saturday's visit of Wales to London will be tougher.
Under caretaker manager Brent Hills following Hope Powell's departure, England defeated Belarus 6-0 and Turkey 8-0, but facing fast-improving Wales at Millwall FC is a different proposition, not least given the recent form of their captain Jessica Fishlock. Carney, a hat-trick scorer versus Belarus, is familiar with much of the Wales squad as they line up against her Birmingham City LFC in the FA Women's Super League (WSL).
"It is going to be a rivalry game, obviously one that both teams want to win," Carney told UEFA.com. "It's a World Cup campaign, that's important in itself. It should be good for the spectators, but nerve-racking for us.
"A lot them play in the WSL, so everyone's familiar with them, but I don't think that will mean anything on the day. Both teams have that belief to make sure they come away with the points and the result. So it's going to be a tasty game."
Until last month, every one of Carney's 85 caps had come under Powell, whose reign lasted 15 years. Hills was Powell's long-term assistant, and Carney said: "Brent's come in and tried to put his own stamp on a few things, but it hasn't changed that drastically.
"There's been small changes, he's been cautious about that. We've gone out and tried to play football and tried to get results as we have done for the last however many years with Hope. It hasn't massively changed, but he's just added a few little things in that he's seen and developed over his time in football."
Powell's departure followed a surprise group stage exit in Sweden. "After the massive disappointment of the EURO and we wanted to prove to ourselves and everybody else and show it was just a little blip in the road," said Carney. "Hopefully coming together to build up to a new, fresh campaign and fresh start, everyone's excited about that and just ready to go on and take every game as it comes and get the results and get to the World Cup."
Carney has been thriving in the role behind the strikers usually filled by the injured Kelly Smith. "I'll play anywhere, I'll play in goal if I have to," the 26-year-old said. "I've predominantly played out wide throughout my career; playing the '10' is really good and really challenging. When you are out wide you can see the whole pitch because you're on the touchline. In the middle there's so much going on and at international level it's so much quicker as well."
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