Lionesses manager Serena Wiegman has announced her 23-player squad for UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, which kicks off in just three weeks.
The big talking point and the most notable omission from the squad is of Manchester City captain Steph Houghton, who misses out following her consistently bad luck with injuries that severely limited her appearances throughout the WSL season.
Speaking to the media, Wiegman addressed her decision to leave the experienced defender out of the squad, saying: “She’s just not ready to compete. “She came into training, she’s in a very good place, but just not ready to compete.”
“It’s just a matter of time and we don’t have that time.” Wiegman continued in relation to Houghton’s future prospects.
Amongst those who made the cut, one name that surprised a few was Chelsea star Fran Kirby, who is yet to play a competitive game since her return from illness, though she did make the bench for the Blues’ FA Cup Final victory over Manchester City.
Regarding this decision, Wiegman said: “She’s been well. “She’s been in training for a while and she has been in camp with us. “She has been playing games, training games, and she’s ready to compete.”
The decision was also taken to select City forward Chloe Kelly, who much like Kirby, has made the cut despite an extended spell on the sidelines, with her case being a long-term injury.
Wiegman expressed her excitement at having the 24 year-old involved, telling the media: “She’s come in for the first timeand she did well. “She’s excited, we’re excited, we have three friendly games and hopefully we can see a little more.”
Wiegman also told the media that she plans to take a different approach to the one Phil Neville took prior to the Lionesses’ World Cup campaign in 2019, with her choosing not to take an extra player to the tournament in order to gain experience in the tournament setting.
“We picked 23, and I think within the squad we have now, we have experienced players, young players for who it is their first tournament, so I think within this team we have the balance in that” was Wiegman’s justification for not choosing a player to fill the role that Ellie Roebuck filled three years ago.
Injuries have been a big talking point heading into the squad announcement, with many questioning how Wiegman has let this factor affect her decisions regarding particular players.
“We evaluate all the time, every training session and then we take the next step, then overtime we get the picture. “We use all the training sessions. “Are we in the right place? “What do we see now?” was her response when questioned about howthis process works.
“We talk to players, can they take what we really want from them? Are they in a good place? “So continuously we evaluate” Wiegman continued.
Following their three upcoming friendlies at home to Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as a trip to Switzerland, the Lionesses open their Euro 2022 campaign against Austria at Old Trafford on July 6th.
Goalkeepers: Mary Earps, Hannah Hampton, Ellie Roebuck
Defenders: Millie Bright, Lucy Bronze, Jess Carter, Rachel Daly, Alex Greenwood, Demi Stokes, Lotte Wubben-Moy
Midfielder: Fran Kirby, Jill Scott, Georgia Stanway, Ella Toone, Kiera Walsh, Leah Williamson
Forwards: Bethany England, Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly, Beth Mead, Nikita Parris, Alessia Russo, Ellen White