England Women are to welcome Northern Ireland and Canada in February and April respectively as they begin preparations for the home UEFA Women’s EURO next year.
Newly-appointed assistant coach Hege Riise will lead the Lionesses into their first competitive fixture in almost a year when they face fellow home nation Northern Ireland on Tuesday 23 February (12.30pm kick-off). The match will be played behind closed doors at the home of England's football teams, St. George’s Park.
England last faced Northern Ireland back in 2008 when the two sides met in a UEFA European Women's Championship qualifier in which the Lionesses won 2-0 thanks to goals from our all-time record appearance maker Fara Williams and former captain Faye White.
Northern Ireland have hit a good run of form, winning their last four Women’s EURO qualifiers, sealing third place in their group and a spot in the play-offs for the rescheduled tournament due to begin in June 2022.
The Lionesses will then look to welcome Canada during the April international window on Tuesday 13 April, with a venue and kick-off time still to be confirmed.
The match will mark an early return for former England Women’s assistant coach Bev Priestman, who left the Lionesses in October to become new head coach of Canada Women. The nations last met back in April 2019, when Canada won 1-0 in a pre-World Cup warm up game at the Academy Stadium in Manchester.
For the England squad, February will be their first time back together since November's training camp at St. George's Park. There was no fixture for them then, but they did take part in an inter-squad game at Stoke City, which we managed to capture with both Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze being mic'd up.
While we continue to work with the Government to get fans back into stadiums as soon as is safe to do so, any ticketing arrangements will be communicated to supporters when relevant.
The Northern Ireland fixture will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer and Red Button.