National Coach Hope Powell announces her 23 players for Sweden 2013
Hope Powell has named her England squad for next month’s UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 Finals in Sweden.
The National Coach has selected an experienced group of 23 with only two uncapped players, Liverpool duo Gemma Bonner and Lucy Bronze.
Remarkably, Rachel Brown and Kelly Smith will be experiencing a sixth major tournament, having each previously taken in three European Championships and two World Cups.
Seven players will be appearing at their fifth Finals, while four have amassed over a century of caps – Smith, Fara Williams, Rachel Yankey and captain Casey Stoney.
Alongside Bonner and Bronze, Toni Duggan, Jordan Nobbs and Jade Moore will also receive their first taste of a tournament at senior level, four years after helping England win the U19 Euros in Belarus.
Left-backs Rachel Unitt and Claire Rafferty have both been forced to miss Sweden 2013 with respective ACL injuries.
Powell said: “It's well documented that we have an issue with injured defenders so Gemma and Lucy give us extra cover.
“Both of them have done really well for Liverpool this season.
“More importantly they will get the experience of being in a senior tournament, as will Toni, Jordan and Jade. Any of them may be required to play, but if not they'll have that experience for the future.”
England qualified unbeaten for Euro 2013 and Powell has kept faith with the majority of the squad that got them there.
The Three Lions have been placed in Group C alongside Spain, who they will face on Friday 12 July, Russia (Monday 15 July) and France (Thursday 18 July).
Powell steered her side to the Final of Euro 2009 where they were beaten by perennial champions Germany.
She added: “A lot of players in this squad have appeared in major tournaments before and that experience will certainly serve them well in Sweden.
“We will need that experience because we are in a very tough group. But looking at the amount of caps this squad has amassed I don't think there's any reason for them to be fazed. It's about them performing and using their experience to help both themselves and the other players.
Powell continued: “You go into major tournaments and the idea is you want to win it. I'm under no illusion, though; everybody else has the same agenda and we recognise that it's going to be tough.
"The competition between teams is at a level it has never been before. The gap between ‘the best’ and ‘the rest’ is getting closer.
“I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that Germany will win it. Historically they have been such a powerful nation and they have won this tournament on countless occasions, but this year I think they have got as good a chance as anyone else.
“The ambition is to get to the Final and we know it will be a tall order. But we have to deal with the group stage first and take it one game at a time.
“We will have to be at our best throughout."
Squad in full
Karen Bardsley (Lincoln Ladies)
Rachel Brown-Finnis (Everton)
Siobhan Chamberlain (Bristol Academy)
Laura Bassett (Birmingham City)
Gemma Bonner (Liverpool)
Sophie Bradley (Lincoln Ladies)
Lucy Bronze (Liverpool)
Steph Houghton (Arsenal)
Alex Scott (Arsenal)
Casey Stoney (Lincoln Ladies)
Dunia Susi (Chelsea)
Anita Asante (Gothenburg)
Karen Carney (Birmingham City)
Jess Clarke (Lincoln Ladies)
Jade Moore (Birmingham City)
Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal)
Jill Scott (Everton)
Fara Williams (Liverpool)
Rachel Yankey (Arsenal)
Eniola Aluko (Chelsea)
Toni Duggan (Everton)
Kelly Smith (Arsenal)
Ellen White (Arsenal)