The Lionesses have changed perceptions of women's football, says Jermaine Jenas

Former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas, now a TV presenter, says men have bought into the Lionesses who have changed perceptions and captured the heart of the nation.

Has England’s run to the final given you a chance to talk football for once?

I do The One Show and it’s not very often we talk about football but the last few nights I’ve had a nice relaxing time talking about just that! That shows the growth and reach of the game and the connection the Lionesses have with the fans. Key to that is the way they play football – people don’t want to watch a boring team and this group play with a fearless nature and wear their hearts on their sleeves.

Has this tournament been a crossover moment for fans of men’s football?

All I know is the interactions I have with my friends, who are messaging me and in the group chats I’m in, saying England are absolutely on fire here and the comments tell me men are engaging. Maybe they always have engaged with the women’s game. I don’t know the ratio of men to women at the England matches but I do know as a whole everyone is getting behind this engaging group of footballers. They have the country behind them.

Have you scored a backheel like that Alessia Russo goal against Sweden?

Ha ha, loads of times! All goals are about moments and you do that in the first game of the season, no one’s going to flinch. But this was arguably the Lionesses’ biggest game on home turf, with all eyes on them in front of a massive TV audience on BBC One. So to do that creates history and a wave of youngsters, boys and girls, trying to recreate it.

It’s great to think that children up and down the country will be ‘doing a Russo’…
Kids will be having great fun recreating that goal, just like the famous Wayne Rooney bicycle kick or the Michael Owen goal against Argentina in 1998. I can imagine kids now pretending to be Alessia Russo (above) and that’s what it’s all about.

How did England recover from a sluggish start vs Sweden

The timing of the things that went England’s way – they were a killer for Sweden. Swedish fans, the manager, the players would have been saying: ‘Oh no, it’s not our day.’ The Mary Earps save, they hit the bar. England scored at great times.

Will Sarina Wiegman make any changes?

This team’s in a good rhythm and you don’t mess with that – you leave it alone. I know a lot of people will be calling for Alessia to start now but can Ellen White have the same impact off the bench?

Can we beat Germany in the final?

Finals are very ugly, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on the Lionesses to get this win and it could be something like a set-piece or a mistake, but I believe it will go into extra-time and England will get the job done.

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