England boss Sarina Wiegman has announced her group for April’s World Cup qualifying matches.
The selected 24-player squad has since depleted to 22 as Chelsea duo Bethany England and Niamh Charles have both tested positive for Covid-19. This is a particular blow for England who has been in fine form for her club in recent weeks, netting six goals in three games. No replacements are to be called up.
Arsenal’s Leah Williamson has once again been named captain for this camp and indeed the future as it was announced today that Williamson will captain England in the Euro’s this summer. The 25-year-old has been interim skipper in the absence of Steph Houghton who has remained out with injury since February of last year.
Williamson commented, “this is an incredibly proud moment for me and my family and I’m honoured to be asked to lead us at the Euro’s.”
“Although I will be wearing the armband, I know we have a squad full of leaders who share my pride and passion in playing for our country. Whether I’m captain or not, I will never take anything for granted and will always do my best for England every time I pull on the shirt.”
“Steph Houghton is one of this country’s all-time greats and to follow in her footsteps – and all of those special names who have led the team in the past – means so much.”
In a statement released on social media this afternoon, Houghton said, “it has been the greatest honour and privilege to captain my country for the last 8 years.”
“I understand and respect Sarina’s decision to name a new captain and it is being passed on to a very deserving and driven leader in Leah Williamson.”
Houghton also went on to add that she is adamant her international career is not over, stating that she “looks forward to putting an England shirt on again.”
Chelsea defender Millie Bright has been appointed the new vice-captain and Manchester City’s Ellen White is third in line.
Aside from Houghton, the other noticeable absentee is Chelsea’s Fran Kirby who is staying with the club to focus on her own programme.
Top of Group D as it stands, the Lionesses will take on North Macedonia on Friday 8th April at 7pm (BST) at the TošeProeski Arena in Skopje. They will then go on to faceNorthern Ireland at Windsor Park in Belfast on Tuesday 12thApril at 7.55pm (BST).
England will go on to face Northern Ireland once again in the group stage of the Euro’s later this year.
Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Manchester United), Hannah Hampton (Aston Villa), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City)
Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Jess Carter (Chelsea), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal)
Midfielders: Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Aston Villa, loan from Manchester City), Georgia Stanway (Manchester City), Keira Walsh (Manchester City), Katie Zelem (Manchester United)
Forwards: Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Nikita Parris (Arsenal), Alessia Russo (Manchester United), Ella Toone (Manchester United), Ellen White (Manchester City)