Manchester United’s Nikita Parris is working towards a return to the Lionesses squad after her exclusion from the 2023 World Cup.
Despite contributing significantly to England’s qualification with a crucial goal, she was left out of the final World Cup squad, with Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly favored in attacking positions.
Parris, who joined United in August 2022, wants to make a comeback and has turned to yoga to aid her recovery from the disappointment.
Nikita Parris faced disappointment as she missed England’s historic journey to the World Cup final in Australia and New Zealand. Despite feeling that Sarina Wiegman’s decision to exclude her was “harsh,” Parris did not linger on the setback for an extended period.
The 29-year-old embraced yoga in order to overcome the disappointment, as she told The Telegraph: “I have balance in my life now. When you’re younger, you’re always hungry and you really forget about the other side – spending time with family and friends, and trying new things. For me, it was trying yoga. It’s been massively important.
“I started it when I got told I wasn’t going to the World Cup. At Manchester United we have a new yoga teacher now who is brilliant and helps me focus on the things I can control. If anyone knows me, I hate stretching, I used to say it was pointless. But for me yoga isn’t just about stretching, it’s about clearing my mind.
Nikita Parris inspired by doing yoga and clearing her mind
It’s about being able to empty all of the things out that I’m overthinking about, and things that I couldn’t control. That mindfulness really allows me to let go of things I can’t control. I couldn’t do that when I had so much in my head that I wanted to say or wanted to do. It would all get a bit too much.”
Nikita Parris has embraced yoga and found inspiration in it, contributing to her impressive start to the season with Manchester United. Scoring eight goals in nine games between October and November, Parris remains focused on her ultimate goal of rejoining the England national team. However, she acknowledges the tough competition for places in Sarina Wiegman’s current squad.
“I’m not just fighting for a place at Manchester United, I’m fighting for a place to get back into the England set-up,” she added. “For me, that’s still on the agenda. I’m not going to give up on it. I’m confident in myself, I’m confident in my ability. Obviously in the England squad now there is a lot of good talent, a lot of depth, and that’s who you’re competing with and I’m happy to compete.”
Nikita Parris and the Manchester United squad are currently on a break from WSL action but will return to the pitch in the FA Women’s Cup on January 14, facing Liverpool in a home tie.
Looking ahead, the Lionesses will kick off their Euro 2025 qualifying campaign in early 2024. Nikita Parris remains determined to give her all in order to earn her place back in Sarina Wiegman’s plans and potentially make it to the Euro 2025 tournament in Switzerland next year.