England pair Lauren Hemp and Lucy Parker have praised the decision to switch to blue shorts as the Lionesses launched their new Nike home and away kits for this year’s Women’s World Cup.

The all-white kit seen at Euro 2022 has been replaced with a white retro style top, paired with new dark blue shorts, a welcome change following issues raised by players over period concerns.

“It’s really important to us as players,” Hemp said, speaking before the Women’s Finalissima against Copa America champions Brazil at Wembley on Thursday. “It’s been in discussions for years and it’s important we feel confident when we’re playing.

“This is a massive step in the right direction and Nike have taken a lot from our discussions in the past to make it real. That’s great because obviously we can now feel comfortable when sometimes we might not have been if it was your time of the month. It’s great to move away from the white shorts, not having that worry and focusing on the game.”

B*th Mead had been among the players to raise the point last summer, with England stars feeding back their concerns to Nike. “It’s very nice to have an all-white kit but sometimes it’s not practical when it’s the time of the month,” she said at the time.

The new darker shorts also feature innovative leak-proof technology.

In abandoning the white shorts, England follow the likes of West Bromwich Albion, Orlando Pride and the Ireland women’s rugby union team, who have all made the switch to darker shorts. Similarly, female players at this year’s Wimbledon have also had the rules around their famously strict all-white kit relaxed, allowing female players to wear dark undershorts.

Some WSL teams have also swapped their white shorts for darker colours midway through the season in response to discussions with players about how wearing white shorts around their menstruation causes unnecessary stress. Manchester United have adopted black shorts at home, while Hemp’s Manchester City first swapped white shorts for maroon.

“For us at City to move away from that helped other teams to move away from it,” Hemp explained.

“You don’t just want your own team but everyone in the environment to feel safe and comfortable. It’s great to have that and be able to start something where things have changed. You feel as players you are being listened to and you are safe and comfortable.”

West Ham’s Lucy Parker, awaiting her first Lionesses cap this month, added: “Anything that relieves the mental stress from a player is a good thing. If it’s one less thing to worry about then why not?”

The new shorts will make their debut in front of a sold-out Wembley Stadium when England host Brazil. After Brazil, the Lionesses play Australia in a friendly at Brentford next Tuesday in what is the last scheduled warm-up ahead of the World Cup in summer.

Credit: 90min.com

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