The Manchester United forward believes the Lionesses’ test against Ballon d’Or Feminin winner Alexia Putellas and her team could be England’s hardest

England’s Ella Toone has said Spain may present her team’s most difficult test at this month’s Arnold Clark Cup.

The inaugural tournament will begin on February 17, with Germany to face Spain in the day’s first fixture before the Lionesses take on Canada.

But despite Canada being Olympic gold medallists, and Germany being eight-time European champions, it’s a Spain team on the rise that Toone believes will be “really tough”.

Asked which team she believes will be the biggest threat for England at the tournament, Toone told media on Tuesday: “I think all teams are great opposition and teams that we can really test ourselves against, but I think Spain will be really tough.

“The way they move the ball and their style of play is great to watch, so that will be a tough game.

“Our focus is now on Canada, as thats our first game, so well prepare as best we can for that game, then the next and then the next. But I think Spain have a great team.”

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Toone knows the quality of one of Spain’s players all too well, as she plays her club football alongside full-back Ona Batlle.

Asked about her Man Utd team-mate, the 22-year-old, who has six goals in her eight international appearances to date, described her as “an unbelievable player”.

“[I] train with her every day in training and shes unbelievable. Shes a great player on and off the ball,” she said. “We know that the Spain team have wonderful players and its going to be tough. But our thoughts are, firstly, on Canada.

“We know [Canada] are a great team. Since then [they beat us in a friendly last April], theyve gone on to win the Olympics.

“Theyve got loads of class players, unbelievable players. Well look as a team on what areas we need to exploit. Well work hard on our game as well and well do what were good at and hopefully it will be a great game and we can pick up three points.”

This month’s Arnold Clark Cup is not the only tournament England will host in 2022. This summer, the country will welcome Europe’s best for the UEFA Women’s Euro, and playing elite opposition over the next 10 days will be “really important” to prepare for that, Toone believes.

“I think it’s the best preparation for us to play against really tough opponents, test ourselves against the best,” she said. “That will only help us in our build-up to the Euros.

“This tournament’s great for us – perfect timing, perfect opponents to test ourselves against and it should be really exciting for us.

“I’ve not played a lot of international football but in the games I have, we’ve won quite comfortably. These [games] will be really tough for everyone involved and for me especially. It will make me test myself against better opposition but that’s the same for the whole team.”

Tickets to watch England, Germany, Spain and Canada play in the Arnold Clark Cup are available now. Matches are being broadcast live in the UK on ITV.

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