England Women’s interim head coach Hege Riise has named a 24-player squad for the forthcoming April international camp which sees the Lionesses test themselves against France and Canada.
The squad will meet up at the team’s St. George’s Park training base on Sunday 4 April before heading to Caen’s Stade Michel d'Ornano to face France on Friday 9 April [8.10pm BST].
The Lionesses then return to St. George’s Park and prepare to meet Canada at Stoke City on Tuesday 13 April [7.15pm BST] with both games being screened live in the UK on BBC Four.
Having also been confirmed as head coach of GB Football, Riise will use April’s camp to challenge the players against two tier-one opponents and give individuals an opportunity to impress ahead of the final decision on the Olympics shortlist which takes place in May.
Riise has opted for a blend of youth and experience, with the rationale for selection remaining focused on players in form for their clubs, their versatility, physical robustness and ability to deliver under pressure: all key requirements in managing the demands of a major tournament.
Experienced internationals such as Lucy Bronze, Ellen White, Millie Bright and Jill Scott are joined by a strong contingent of younger players who've impressed for club and country over the past 12 months.
Among the youngsters, Riise has called up Everton goalkeeper Sandy MacIver, Arsenal defender Lotte Wubben-Moy, Chelsea winger Niamh Charles and Manchester United's Ella Toone, together with Manchester City duo Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly.
The France and Canada fixtures could present opportunities for Charles and Turner to make their senior England debuts.
April’s squad also sees a return to international duty for goalkeepers Carly Telford and Karen Bardsley, with Chelsea duo Kirby and Bright also returning to England duty having missed the squad’s February camp which saw a 6-0 win over Northern Ireland.
Captain Steph Houghton wasn't available for selection due to injury while Lyon's Nikita Parris is currently unable to join the squad as a result of a number of positive COVID-19 cases reported within her club, but the situation is being regularly assessed.
“We have such an exciting group of players; many have enormous major tournament experience and others have proven themselves capable of competing for England at the highest level," said Riise.
“It's very important for us to secure fixtures against top opponents in France and Canada. France are currently ranked third in the world and Canada are eighth, so this international window will really test our squad against some of the best in the world.
“This is crucial as we move closer to the Tokyo Olympics, but also important as we continue to prepare this squad to compete at the home EURO next year and the World Cup in 2023.
“I look forward to two exciting fixtures and the opportunity of challenging every player to impress us and stake their claim for a place in the shortlist for GB Football. I've also been watching very closely those players from the home nations who are in contention for the GB squad and I will continue to do so right up until we shortlist next month.”
Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Millie Turner (Manchester United), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal)