The Lionesses will face Northern Ireland and Latvia in World Cup qualifying on October 23 and October 26, respectively.
Sarina Wiegman Makes Latest England Women Squad Announcement
— Lionesses (@Lionesses) October 12, 2021
Russo and Hampton Earn Call-Ups
Alessia Russo will look to feature for the Lionesses for the first time since her debut v Spain in March 2020, when she replaced Toni Duggan as a substitute towards the end of a 1-0 loss.
Having left for the United States in 2017, Russo returned to English football with Manchester United in September 2020 and has starred for the Red Devils – when available – since.
She first came through the academy at Charlton Athletic Women before making it to the first team with Chelsea Women and then Brighton & Hove Albion Women.
The Maidstone-born forward scored in Saturday’s 2-2 Manchester derby draw, taking her tally in the red shirt to five goals and two assists in ten appearances. Her spell at Leigh Sports Village had been hit by injury for a large part of the 2020/21 season but she is back up and running.
Villa goalkeeper Hannah Hampton joins her in being a new name on Wiegman’s list. Hampton has impressed for Aston Villa, who she joined from rivals Birmingham City Women in July 2021 following the expiry of her contract.
This is not Hampton’s first call-up to the setup but she will be looking to make her England debut. Some were surprised when she was not included in the previous squad but England’s goalkeeping department is strong and she had forced her way into it this time around.
Manchester United goalkeeper Mary Earps was selected by Wiegman for her first two games in charge and has been in excellent form for her club.
How Qualifying Is Going
England are a perfect two out of two under Sarina Wiegman so far. Her side recorded two comfortable victories over North Macedonia and Luxembourg in September, 8-0 and 10-0, respectively.
Next up they face a Northern Ireland side that has also won their opening two qualifiers and a Latvia side that lost both their September fixtures – 8-1 to Austria and 4-0 to Northern Ireland.
Wiegman, a World Cup runner-up in 2019, knows exactly how it’s done and will be looking to keep a 100% record going throughout qualifying.
Keira Walsh Included But England Squad Still Without Her Manchester City Teammates
Manchester City Women midfielder Keira Walsh has returned following injury but her City teammates Ellie Roebuck, Lucy Bronze and Steph Houghton are absent through injury.
City striker Ellen White is unsurprisingly included, seeking Kelly Smith’s record of 46 England goals, which she needs four to overtake.
Wiegman Reveals Excitement at First Competitive Wembley Stadium Fixture
Wiegman told englandfootball.com: “After a wonderful start to our World Cup qualifying campaign last month, we are incredibly excited to play our first competitive fixture at Wembley Stadium.
“The incredible atmosphere our supporters generated at St Mary’s Stadium for our match against North Macedonia gave our players and staff a tremendous lift, so the prospect of playing in front of thousands of fans at our national stadium later this month will be a special moment.
“Northern Ireland have made strong progress in recent years, qualifying earlier this year for the 2022 home UEFA Women’s Euro. On top of that, their recent 4-0 victory over Latvia shows the strength of their team and their determination to qualify for the World Cup.
“I can’t wait to get back together with our squad this weekend. Every player showed great ability and the collective positivity and ambition within the group was fantastic to see. We do still have one or two injuries to key players to contend with, but the depth in our squad is very strong.
“We hope to give our supporters more reasons to celebrate this month as we continue our progress towards qualification.”
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