Alex Morgan tied a World Cup record by scoring five goals in the United States’ 13-0 tournament-opening win over Thailand.In the team’s second game, Morgan didn’t play a single minute. And she was fine with it.For head coach Jill Ellis, heavy squad rotation at this World Cup was all part of her grand plan. Against Chile, it worked. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? “It’s been this big-picture plan for a few months now,” Ellis said after her team defeated Chile 3-0 in Paris, a game in which she made seven changes to her team from the Thailand match and still got the result needed to send the U.S. into the World Cup last 16.In addition to Morgan, the other two members of the USWNT’s deadly front trio, Tobin Heath and Megan Rapinoe, were also rested. So were starting midfielder Rose Lavelle and first-choice full-backs Kelley O’Hara and Crystal Dunn.Of course, Ellis’s plan was made possible by the deep bench full of world-class talent she has to call upon. When she started her reserves, it wasn’t as if she made Chile the favorite. Far from it. “The bench that we have is ridiculous,” Rapinoe said, “It’s by far the deepest that we’ve ever had.”Indeed, if the U.S. were to field a second-choice team at this World Cup, it would likely be a contender to lift the crown. What other country can bring the likes of two-time world player of the year Carli Lloyd – who scored twice against Chile – off the bench?“We knew going into this that it takes all 23 players,” Lloyd said. “It takes the entire roster to ultimately lift this trophy.”Remarkably, the U.S. has now used almost that entire roster in the first two games of the tournament. All 20 field players have seen the field, with only the team’s two backup goalkeepers yet to play.“This team has incredible depth and when [Ellis] chooses who goes on during a game and who starts, there’s no explanation needed,” Morgan said. “We trust in her and it was pretty incredible we were able to get all [20 field] players on the pitch in the first two games.”Morgan didn’t seem perturbed at all about being benched right after her incredible five-goal performance. It was a testament to how the entire team has bought into Ellis’s philosophy.Rather than ride the hot hand, Ellis’s thinking goes, the U.S. wants to create as many hot hands as possible by giving every player a chance at minutes.“Every single one of them has got butterflies out of the way,” Ellis said.“They know that trust is there and that’s a huge part for a coach to show that trust in terms of playing players in the biggest stage of their careers.”Naturally, not every coach has the same luxury as Ellis. Most teams at the World Cup must select their top-choice lineup every game.But the U.S. is different.“We know how deep we are, we know how competitive it is in training, how hard it is to get a spot on the field,” Christen Press said.Press joined Lloyd and Mallory Pugh in a remade front three that caused Chile plenty of problems and would have generated several more goals were it not for the heroics of Chilean goalkeeper Christiane Endler.That attacking trio might all return to the bench against Sweden in the team’s group-stage finale on Thursday. But Ellis has now given them all a start in the World Cup, and knows she’ll be able to call upon them and all their teammates should they be needed.“We need them in a good place,” Ellis said. “And if they can have minutes and the butterflies are kind of out of the way, I think it helps us down the line.”
Dr Richard Pebody, PHE acting head of respiratory diseases department, said: “The flu survey is an on-line survey, which was set up during the swine flu pandemic in 2009 as an indicator of flu activity in the community. Around 7,500 people around the country are currently registered with survey and, during the winter, they voluntarily report if they have had flu-like symptoms during the previous week. A flu epidemic will hit England within a fortnight, if current trends continue, according to latest figures suggesting more than eight million people are now suffering symptoms.The new data shows a “significant excess” of deaths among over 65s in England, and among those in all age groups in Scotland and Northern Ireland.Across England, flu levels are currently approaching high levels, the statistics from Public Health England show, with a 2.5 fold rise in cases in the last two weeks.If current trends continue, it means England will reach epidemic levels within a fortnight.Health officials had been fearful about the impact of a strain of flu A (H3N2) dubbed “Aussie flu” after it fuelled the worst flu season in Australia for a decade. “The best prevention for flu, other than observing good hygienic practices, such as regular hand washing, is for people, particularly those in at-risk groups, including patients with long-term conditions and pregnant women, to get their flu jab. It is not too late to receive some benefit from vaccination.“If someone does have the flu, unfortunately there is no cure, but patients can assist their own recovery through taking plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids as it is easy to become dehydrated. Fevers and muscle ache, which are often symptoms of flu can also be improved with paracetamol or ibuprofen, if appropriate. But NHS senior managers say GPs were put under pressure by health officials to choose the cheaper option – excluding the Japanese strain now spreading through hospitals.The latest statistics suggest around 4,500 people were admitted to hospital with flu last week.Of those, 61 per cent – were suffering influenza B, the vast majority with the B-Yamagata strain.The latest report includes estimates suggesting that more than 15 per cent of people have been left suffering influenza-like illness in the past week – equating to more than 8.3 million people.Those figures come from internet-based surveillance run by PHE and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Separate statistics published today by PHE covering GP consultations show 53.1 consultations per 100,000 people in England last week, compared with rates of 37.3 per 100,000 people last week, and 21 per 100,000 in the last week of December. Health officials said levels were highest among those aged 45 to 64.The report shows 120 deaths from flu have now been confirmed in England, a rise from 85 on record last week.Broken down by region, the latest figures show Midlands and East England, which includes Birmingham, Norwich and Nottingham, was worst affected, followed by North England, including Manchester, York and Newcastle. The Royal College of GPs said the figures represented a 150 per cent rise in flu rates since the start of the year, with an estimated 31,300 patients in England attending their GP practice with flu symptoms in the week ending 14 January.Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “General practice continues to face huge winter pressures with a significant increase in patients presenting with influenza, and high numbers of patients continuing to present with other common winter illnesses.“Wintertime always brings challenges for the health service, and GP practices have prepared well in order to deliver the best possible care for patients. But patients can also help in keeping themselves safe and well during the cold weather. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. But the new figures suggest that B strains are now dominating, making up more than six in ten hospitalised cases last week. The vast majority of those cases involve a strain called B-Yamagata – known as “Japanese flu” – which is not covered by the vaccines most patients have received.Two types of vaccine were available to the NHS – a £5 trivalent version covering three main strains of flu, and an £8 quadrivalent version protecting against four strains. “This means number of participants at a local level will be small and figures should thus be interpreted with caution. It is just one of a range of indicators which PHE flu surveillance considers when looking at the position across the country each week.” “We do encourage patients who are ill to think hard about whether they do need to see a GP – not just in terms of reducing pressures on the NHS, but to minimise the possibility of passing viruses, such as flu, to other people, particularly in at-risk groups, such as those with long-term conditions or pregnant women.”Professor Paul Cosford, medical director, PHE said: “Our data continues to show that more people are visiting GPs with flu symptoms and we are seeing more people admitted to hospital with flu.“In terms of hospital admission, this is the most significant flu season since the winter of 2010/11 and the preceding pandemic year of 2009 although it is not an epidemic.“We are currently seeing a mix of flu types, including the A(H3N2) strain that circulated last winter in the UK and then in Australia. The A(H3N2) strain particularly affects older, more vulnerable age groups.