England head coach Sarina Wiegman believes this summer’s home European Championship is going to be “the biggest event in women’s football in Europe ever”.
England will host Women’s Euro 2022 in July and step up their preparations this month when they compete in the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup on home soil.
The four-team tournament also features GermanySpain and Olympic champions Canada and will see six matches played over seven days.
Wiegman described the competition as a “test” for her side ahead of this summer, which she expects to be a landmark tournament for women’s football.
“The game’s growing so much, I think this tournament this summer is going to be the biggest event in women’s football in Europe ever,” said Weigman, who led hosts Holland to victory at the last European Championship in 2017.
“The level is growing so much and there’s so many teams that can win this tournament, that’s really exciting already, so it’s really unpredictable.”
England start their Arnold Clark Cup campaign against Canada at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium on February 17 before taking on Spain at Carrow Road three days later and Germany at Molineux another three days after that.
“Playing three top countries in the world, for us it’s a good test to know where we really are. We had a very good autumn, but now we get different opponents in front of us, very good opponents, and it’s a good test for us,” Wiegman added.
“After the tournament we will probably know where we are and what we have to do to prepare for the Euros.
“It’s also an opportunity, because we play three games in six days, to have lots of players playing minutes to see how their level is and how as a team we can grow too.
“I think this tournament will be very beneficial and it will also give so much information about us and where we are and an opportunity for us to develop our style of play.”
Germany head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg and Spanish counterpart Jorge Vilda are also hoping to use the tournament to hone preparations ahead of the summer.
“We’re raring to go as far as preparations are concerned,” Voss-Tecklenburg said.
“Just like Sarina said, we know where we stand and what kind of work we have to do in the run-up to the ‘real thing’, in inverted commas, the Euros in England.”
Vilda added: “It’s the best way to prepare for the Euros this summer.
“You’re coming up against some of the best teams in the world and it’s the ultimate preparation that there’s going to be for probably the best Euros in the history of the competition.”