The Arnold Clark Cup: Wiegman’s England get their first true test in 10 months as Euros edge ever closer

DARLINGTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 15: Sarina Wiegman, Manager of England speaks to Niamh Charles of England during a training session ahead of their Arnold Clark Cup match against Canada at Rockcliffe Hall on February 15, 2022 in Darlington, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
By Florence Lloyd-Hughes Feb 17, 2022 1
The inaugural edition of the Arnold Clark Cup gets underway at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough on Thursday and a lot of people are probably wondering what, why and who the hell is Arnold Clark? 

Well, first, no, Arnold Clark is not a famous forefather of women’s football. It’s a car dealership chain that has sponsorship deals with ITV’s This Morning, Talksport and Channel 4. This is its first foray into women’s sport and women’s football. 

The Arnold Clark Cup is a new four-team invitational round-robin tournament that has been created by the Football Association in partnership with sports agency Pitch International.  

Pitch has a four-year deal with the FA to run the competition and the first edition will see England take on Germany, Spain and Canada in games at the Riverside, Carrow Road and Molineux. 

The tournament follows the lead of similar invitational competitions that have been running in the February/March international window for years, including the SheBelieves Cup, organised by US Soccer, and the Algarve Cup, run by the Portuguese Football Federation. 

England won the SheBelieves Cup in 2019 but struggled in the 2020 edition, losing to Spain and USA and narrowly beating Japan. 

Essentially, the Arnold Clark Cup is another glorified friendly competition, but one that is bringing four of the world’s top 10 teams to England before a home Euros for the Lionesses this summer. 

It will be the first time England, Germany and Spain have been tested in months as all have had fairly straightforward World Cup qualification campaigns. 

England have won all six of their qualifiers, scored 53 goals and conceded none. Germany also have a 100 per cent record, scoring 31 and conceding just two, as do Spain who, like England, are yet to concede.