National Women’s Coach Hope Powell has picked the first ever England Under-21 squad.
National Women’s Coach Hope Powell has picked the cream of England’s exciting young talent for a training camp to be held later this month at Lilleshall, after The Football Association launched an England Women’s Under-21 team.
The training camp will be used as preparation for the first competitive action the team will see when they participate in next month’s annual Nordic Tournament.
Arsenal defender/midfielder Anita Asante, who made her Senior debut in last month’s 1-0 victory over Iceland, has been called-up to the Under-21s squad, alongside team-mates Hayley Kemp and Alex Scott.
Senior squad members from the 2003-04 season Laura Bassett, Ann-Marie Heatherson, Kelly McDougall and Toni-Anne Wayne have also had call-ups. The squad will meet between June 14-17 at Lilleshall and 18 of the 26 players will be selected for next month’s tournament.
The eight-nation Nordic Tournament in Norway between July 23-29. England have been drawn in a group against Iceland, Denmark and Sweden and will play one of the Group B sides – USA, Germany, Norway and Finland – depending on their final placing.
For this tournament, overage players will be considered for the England Under-21 squad which widens the catchment area to those who are currently on the fringe of the Senior team.
Powell commented: "This is a major step forward for our international teams and will bridge the gap between Under-19 and Senior levels.
"We have been observing players in this age bracket for the last six months and with the clubs’ assistance I believe we can make this a real success."
Most of the top nations in the world, such as USA, Germany and Norway, have had Under-21 squads for up to 10 years and England will now relish the opportunity to test out some of the best young talent in the country against the world’s top nations.
The Under-21s will have a further training camp later in the year and will play Sweden in an away international on Friday October 1st.
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Training camp squad