Lauren James branded 'naive and immature' as England prepare for Colombia World Cup clash

Lauren James England

Lauren James has been criticised and defended by Eni Aluko after England red card

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 11/08/2023

- 14:40

The 21-year-old won't be able to play in the quarter-final showdown

Former England star Eni Aluko has called Lauren James 'naive' and 'immature' after the forward's red card against Nigeria at the Women's World Cup on Monday.

The 21-year-old, who had been sensational at the tournament during the group stages, received a straight red card for standing on the back of Michelle Alozie.

Fortunately for James, England were still able to proceed to the next round.

And while Aluko has defended the Chelsea star, the former Lioness has also branded the youngster 'naive' and 'immature' for her moment of madness.

Lauren James England

Lauren James was sent off as England beat Nigeria at the Women's World Cup on Monday


"It was naive, a mistake and clearly it is immature," she told the Daily Mail.

"Do I expect a 21-year-old with the world looking at her not to have immature and naive moments though? No. Of course I expect that.

"I'm 36 and still making mistakes and it'll be part of her journey.

"If you look at what she has done in this tournament, she is our future so we've got to look after her and protect her.

"It's a big lesson on the world's biggest stage but mistakes help you get better."

Aluko also thinks England are strong favourites to beat Colombia, despite James being set to miss that match.

"From what I saw, England shouldn't be worried," she continued.

"But the only thing is a lot of the time these teams prefer playing as the underdog and they were evenly matched with Jamaica, if not the favourites.

"In the group against Germany they were fantastic and won so they prefer to be in that underdog situation when no one is expecting them to win and you can see a different mentality.

"So, I wouldn't necessarily go off the Jamaica game and there is a little bit of the unknown there for England heading into it."

And Aluko also believes England are capable of going all the way at the tournament, too.

"England have shown they can win in different ways and that is really healthy," stated the 36-year-old.

"They're coming up against a type and style of team in Colombia that they wouldn't have played against before and they have to be ready for that.

"We've played Haiti and Nigeria and these are styles that typically England don't really play against and maybe moving forward we should have more friendlies against global nations rather than just European teams.

"They just need to be ready for anything that's thrown at them and I think they'll always come through with the quality they have.

"I've always said England could get to the final as when you win the Euros like they did that winning culture and momentum is just part of you.

"It will now be disappointing if they don't because they can go all the way.

"The other team I fancy is Japan. I struggle to see how any team will stop them.

"They've got everything! From ruthless finishing, defensive organisation and tactical flexibility - those two teams are the ones who have really stood out for me."

Aluko is also delighted at the way the popularity of women's football has grown.


England Women's World Cup

England will have to cope without Lauren James for Colombia Women's World Cup clash


"It's completely shifted and changed. The media attention, conversation, trending topics are all about women's football," she said.

"You wouldn't think there was ever a time when people said 'no one watches women's football'.

"That argument has died a death because people are watching, millions are.

"So it's just great to see and most of all it's brilliant to see the parity.

"There's an assumption sometimes that football only happens in Europe, but around the world whether it's Africa, Asia, South America or Oceania - women's football is growing at a rapid pace and it's really positive."

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