Sarina Wiegman: Latest England squad ‘close’ to Euros selection

Sarina Wiegman: Latest England squad ‘close’ to Euros selection

That might be the group that’s close to the Euros – Wiegman on squad announcementEngland manager Sarina Wiegman said the squad she has selected for forthcoming matches in North Macedonia and Northern Ireland could be “close” to the group that will go to this summer’s European Championship.

Wiegman has named a 24-player squad for the World Cup qualifying matches which will be played on 8 April and 12 April.

“That might be the group that’s close,” Wiegman said.

Forward Bethany England was recalled in place of Chelsea team-mate Fran Kirby.

“We’ve used a group of around 27-28 players throughout this season, so it is most likely when they keep performing and stay fit,” added Wiegman.

“Some other players might come back – some are still recovering. It’s all about staying fit, performing and showing what they are capable of.

“It doesn’t mean the door is closed for any other player but, if all of a sudden a totally new player comes in now, then it means we’ve probably made the wrong decisions earlier.”

Wembley final set to break records at Euro 2022Euro 2022: All you need to know 100 days outEngland are top of Group D, having won six games from six so far under Wiegman in attempting to qualify for next year’s World Cup, which will be staged in Australia and New Zealand.

They sit five points ahead of second-placed Austria, with only the group winners qualifying automatically.

“The Arnold Clark Cup [in February] really helped a lot, we said that was needed,” said Wiegman, whose side won the tournament after draws with Canada and Spain were followed by a 3-1 win against Germany.

“We needed those top-level teams to play against to see where we really are and I think we did well.

“We grew as a team on the pitch and off the pitch again. We got lots of information – and to be honest I was pretty satisfied with the team we had and the performances.”

England, 27, has not played since scoring twice in the 20-0 win over Latvia in November.

Meanwhile Kirby, 28, has been absent for Chelsea’s recent fixtures and has stayed at her club to follow an individual training programme.

“I’m really happy for [Bethany England],” added Wiegman. “Of course she struggled a little with her injury, but now she has come back and is getting more minutes with her club. She is doing well, you can tell she feels comfortable.

“Fran [Kirby] is doing OK. She has her own programme at the club. She’s not ready to play. I hope she will be back on the pitch pretty soon but we don’t know yet.”

Damaris Egurrola: Lyon midfielder opts for Netherlands’Harder to win the Euros than the World Cup”Houghton is doing everything possible’Steph Houghton is yet to feature under Sarina Wiegman since she took charge of England in SeptemberEngland remain without long-term captain Steph Houghton, who underwent an operation in late February and has missed most of the season through injury.

Wiegman said she is in “contact with her all the time” but it will be “really tight” for Houghton to return in time for the Euros.

“I have spoken to her, of course,” added the England boss. “She is doing everything within her control to make the Euros, we will see. She is taking it step-by-step.

“The competitiveness in this team is really high. She has had a tremendous CV with us so I hope she will make it. But first of all she needs to be on the pitch, she needs to start training and then be fit enough.

“I want to give her a little more time because we know she needs that. With the history she has with this team and the contribution she’s had over the years, I would like to give her more time.

“We have to see how it goes, we have contact with her all the time. She has a clear plan and we just keep each other updated about the situation.”

Houghton’s Manchester City team-mate Chloe Kelly is back in full training following an ACL injury but is yet to play for her club.

Wiegman said she “did not consider” calling the 24-year-old forward up for the World Cup qualifiers, but they “will keep a close eye on her” too.

The 52-year-old added: “We know how good she (Kelly) was when she got injured and what form she was in, she did very well. There is contact all the time but she hasn’t played a game yet.

“She needs rhythm now. That’s where it starts – playing for your club, getting consistency and then you can take the next step. Hopefully she will get to the level she is capable of, but that will probably take a little more time.”

England squadGoalkeepers: Mary Earps (Manchester United), Hannah Hampton (Aston Villa), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City)

Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Jess Carter (Chelsea), Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Aston Villa, loan from Manchester City), Georgia Stanway (Manchester City), Keira Walsh (Manchester City), Katie Zelem (Manchester United)

Forwards: Bethany England (Chelsea) Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Nikita Parris (Arsenal), Alessia Russo (Manchester United), Ella Toone (Manchester United), Ellen White (Manchester City)

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