England Women’s manager Sarina Weigman has named her 23 player squad for the 2023 World Cup.
The squad sees Lauren James and Katie Robinson selected for their first major tournament.
It sees the return of Bethany England, who has scored 13 goals in seven appearances since joining Tottenham in January. She played a pivotal role in helping the club avoid relegation to the Championship. Having been left out of Weigman’s recent plans, her move from Chelsea has been timed to perfection.
Millie Bright has also returned to the squad following her knee injury.
The exclusion of Maya Le Tissier and Lucy Parker have been named in recent squads and have had a strong season playing for Manchester United and West Ham, respectively.
The announcement saw Millie Bright be named as captain with Leah Williamson unavailable due to her ACL injury. Also unavailable for selection were Fran Kirby, Sandy Maciver and Jess Park, who are all undergoing recovery for their respective injuries.
The Lionesses are starting their World Cup campaign against Haiti on 22nd July and will be hoping to be a part of the final on 20th August.
They are looking to replicate their success of last summer, and finish the summer with another trophy.
England’s unprecedented run of success came to a shock end their last time out, against tournament holders Australia. The Lionesses lost 2-0,thanks to a brace from Sam Kerr.
They were missing Millie Bright, who has been solid in defence for both club and country, and Lauren Hemp had to be subbed off early on, but it was a lesson learnt for Weigman and the team.
The Aussie ended their run of 29 games unbeaten, since September 2021, when Weigman arrived at the helm.
The announcement sees Rachel Daly named as a forward for the second time. She won the WSL Golden Boot over the weekend, after scoring 22 goals in 22 for Aston Villa this season. The striker has been a crucial part of the team this season, and helped them to their highest points total.
Some questioned whether despite this spectacular form she would still be named as a defender, due to her experience in the position. No matter what position she is named as, Daly’s versatility proves her crucial to any squad.
View from here
The current Euro Champions are looking to continue their success in tournaments and claim their fifth trophy since the appointment of the Dutchwoman in 2019.
They are looking to reach the World Cup Final for the first time ever, after failing to progress from the semi-finals, in both the 2015 and 2019 editions of the tournament.
With so many injuries occurring within this season, we are yet to know what Weigman’s starting 11 will look like. She named the same line-up for the start of each match during last summers Euro’s, even making the same substitutes, so she is known for her consistency.
However with five players currently out, and potentially unavailable for selection, there are going to be changes in the formation. Players are missing from all over the pitch, but most notably is captain Leah Williamson. The Centre-back played every minute of the Euros and has been a mainstay in all of Sarina’s selection – when fit.
Another player key to England’s success, is the other half of their centre-back pairing; Millie Bright. Usually one to play most, if not all, minutes for club and country Bright hasn’t played a single minute since 22nd March.
She was named in the squad for the April fixtures, but withdrew due to her knee injury. It was testament to her ability, in how much she was missed during these fixtures, going to penalties against Brazil and losing to Australia. Named in her place was Jess Carter.
Maya Le Tissier has missed out on a World Cup place, despite a run of good form for Manchester United this season. Her last ditch defending helped keep Manchester United in the running to the title and claiming points from games.
Also missing out on a place is fellow United player, Nikita Parris. She has been an important part of the team, who secured Champions League places for the first time. Since leaving Arsenal last season, she has scored 9 goals, and has been effective as both a starting and substitute player.
There have been calls from some for the return of former England captain Steph Houghton, even if it is only for a final farewell at Wembley. However it is well known that Sarina doesn’t do pity caps, and wouldn’t call a player up for the sake of it.