Hope Powell names England squad for Euro 2013 qualifying double-header.
England v Holland
Salford City Stadium
5.15pm, Sunday 17 June 2012
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Slovenia v England
UEFA Women’s European Championship
Group 6 Qualifier
7pm BST, Thursday 21 June 2012
Ob Jezeru, Velenje
Hope Powell has named her squad for the crucial UEFA Euro 2013 qualifying double-header against Holland and Slovenia next month.
Fit again Rachel Yankey has been recalled for the first time since the 2-0 over Serbia in November 2011 and if the winger features in both the upcoming games she will equal Gillian Coultard’s record of 119 England caps.
Defenders Casey Stoney and Sophie Bradley return to the fold after the duo missed England’s last Euro qualifier against Croatia due to injury. And Claire Rafferty will meet up with the squad for the first time since last summer’s World Cup after recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Everton youngster Toni Duggan has received her maiden senior team call-up following her impressive recent performances for the Toffees and Brent Hills’ England Under-23 side.
“Toni has been working hard at her game and playing well for Everton, so this gives me a chance to have a look at her in a new environment and see how she does,” said Powell, of her newest recruit.
“She is still learning her trade but I’m hoping she will have something to offer us a bit further down the line.
“She did really well in 2009 when the U19s won the Euros and she has progressed well in the Under-23s.
“We have been struggling a little bit in terms of injuries lately and with a few of the players having little niggles, so it’s good to have a few back in the fold,” she continued.
“Casey is experienced at all levels and she is a real big game player.
“Sophie has been magnificent for us in recent games and it was a shame she got injured at the time she did.
“We perhaps would have liked both of them to have had a few more games under their belts before Holland and Slovenia, but they are good enough players to cope with that and I’m sure they will do a job for us.
“Claire has been making steady progress after her ACL injury and she has done well to come back from it, so I’m really pleased that they are all now fit and healthy.”
England go into the double-header knowing they need six points to realistically maintain any hope of topping Group 6
and qualifying automatically for next summer’s Finals. Powell’s charges are five points behind the Dutch but with a game in hand.
If Holland were to win at Salford City Stadium on Sunday 17 June they would seal top spot and book their place at Sweden 2013. The two sides met in Zwolle in October last year and played out a tense 0-0 draw
“It is a crucial qualifier,” said Powell. “We need to get three points.
“I saw them play against Slovenia and they have been playing with an air of confidence lately and I’m sure their new manager [Roger Reijners] has given them that belief. We are used to the Dutch being very defensive, sitting back and looking for the counter. Now they play higher up the pitch and they are more attack-focussed.
“It’s going to be a difficult game and I’m hoping we can get a decent crowd. We are going to have to be on top of our game because we are expecting it to be a challenging game.
"We did well in Holland, but we were probably a little too defensive. We have learned things from that game and we will look to address them in time.”
Squad in full – click here for full player profiles
Karen Bardsley (Linköping), Rachel Brown (Everton), Siobhan Chamberlain (Bristol Academy), Carly Telford (Chelsea)
Laura Bassett (Birmingham City), Sophie Bradley (Lincoln Ladies), Claire Rafferty (Chelsea), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Casey Stoney (Lincoln Ladies), Dunia Susi (Chelsea), Rachel Unitt (Birmingham City)
Anita Asante (Goteborg), Karen Carney (Birmingham City), Steph Houghton (Arsenal), Jade Moore (Birmingham City), Jill Scott (Everton), Fara Williams (Everton)
Eniola Aluko (Birmingham City), Toni Duggan (Everton), Ellen White (Arsenal), Rachel Williams (Birmingham City), Rachel Yankey (Arsenal)
Tickets for the crucial clash against Holland are on sale now, priced just £5 for adults and £2.50 for concessions. U12s will be free when accompanied by an adult and wheelchair users will pay £2.50, carer will go free
Simply call the Salford City Stadium Ticket Hotline on 0844 888 0200 to buy your ticket