Fit again captain Faye White will make a welcome, though delayed, return to the England squad to face Holland.
Fit again captain Faye White will make a welcome though delayed return to the England squad when Hope Powell’s team visits Holland for a double header against the Dutch national side later this month.
White has recovered from the knee injury which forced her to miss the start of the season with her club side Arsenal, whose forthcoming Uefa Cup tournament unfortunately clashes with the first of England’s games against Holland.
On the same day (Saturday 18th) that the Gunners complete their tournament programme in Stockholm with a match against Swedish champions Djurgårdens/Älvsjö, England will be meeting Holland in Heerhugowaard.
As one of four Arsenal players named in the 24-woman national squad, central defender White will not be travelling alone when she heads south from Scandinavia to the Netherlands to link up with the rest of the England party.
But travelling arrangements are of no concern to the 26 year-old skipper – she is just delighted to be back in action and looking forward to representing both her club and country on the international stage.
"It’s been very frustrating having to miss the start of the season," she said, "but I’ve been in full training for a couple of weeks now and I’ve played in an Arsenal practise match this week so I’m raring to go.
"Hopefully I’ll be involved in our League game at Liverpool on Sunday and then in our Uefa Cup tournament next week. Three games in five days is a tough schedule, but I’d certainly like to play a part.
"I’m also looking forward to being back in the England squad after missing the last couple of games, especially as we are now really getting into our preparations for next year’s European Championships finals."
With Euro 2005 set to be played in England, White and her international colleagues are determined to see their preparations culminate in some good performances and results during the eagerly awaited tournament.
As the countdown continues in Holland the initial aim will be to put behind them their disappointing display in last month’s 2-1 defeat by Russia and reach the heights they achieved in their 4-1 win against the Dutch on the last occasion the two nations met.
White was part of the victorious England line-up on that evening in The Hague during March 2002, whereas last month in Bristol she had to watch her team’s defeat by Russia from the Memorial Stadium stands.
"The Russia game wasn’t the best," she said, "but hopefully the England performance was just a blip after the excellent way we played against teams like Denmark and Scotland last season.
"These matches in Holland are going to give us a difficult test, that’s for sure, but they’ll also give us a quick chance to get the Russia game out of our system and start things moving in the right direction towards Euro 2005.
"The last time we played against the Dutch was one of those nights where everything went right for us – and if we can have another couple of similar nights over there this time round it will be a massive boost for us."
Though White is a significant addition to the England squad there are still two key players, America based striker Kelly Smith and Everton goalkeeper Rachel Brown, unavailable due to long term injuries.
There is just one new face in the squad, Birmingham City goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain having been called up as a replacement for Toni-Ann Wayne as the Bristol Rovers keeper has withdrawn through work commitments.
The squad will fly to Holland on Thursday, 16th September for their friendly internationals at the Reiger Boys Stadium, Heerhugowaard two days later and at Tuitjenhoorn bij FC on Wednesday, 22nd September.
Goalkeepers - Leanne Hall (Fulham), Siobhan Chamberlain (Birmingham City).
Defenders - Leanne Champ (Arsenal), Casey Stoney (Charlton Athletic), Faye White (Arsenal), Mary Phillip (Arsenal), Rachel Unitt (Everton), Lindsay Johnson (Everton), Laura Bassett (Birmingham City), Anita Asante (Arsenal), Kirsty Pealling (Arsenal).
Midfielders - Rachel Yankey (Birmingham City), Fara Williams (Everton), Katie Chapman (Charlton Athletic), Kelly McDougall (Everton), Vicky Exley (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Rachel McArthur (Bristol City), Sue Smith (Leeds United), Jody Handley (Everton), Josanne Potter (Birmingham City).
Forwards - Kristy Moore (Fløya, Norway), Amanda Barr (Birmingham City), Carmaine Walker (Charlton Athletic), Ellen Maggs (Birmingham City).