Ludlow names Wales squad for Cyprus Cup

Jayne Ludlow has named a strong Wales squad for the upcoming Cyprus Cup tournament, reports faw.cymru.

Wales have been placed in Group A alongside Finland, Italy and Switzerland, and will be keen to improve on last years 6th place finish.

Captain Sophie Ingle will again lead a squad that includes centurion Jess Fishlock, while the Orchard Welsh Premier Women’s League is represented by Swansea City’s Ellie Lake together with Cyncoed duo Laura O’Sullivan and Gwen Davies.

Lake and Davies are two of three uncapped players named along with Elise Hughes of Everton, while Amina Vine, Alice Griffiths and Nadia Lawrence will represent the Wales Performance Squad.

Helen Ward and Charlie Estcourt both scored Wales in each of the last two Cyprus Cup tournaments, and are also included in Ludlow’s squad of 24 players.

The competition starts for Wales against Finland on 28 February, and will end on 7 March when the final places will be decided.

This will be the third year in succession that Wales have competed at the tournament, and the four fixtures will form a crucial part of Ludlow’s preparation for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier away to England in April.

Wales conceded just once in four games during the Cyprus Cup tournament last year, and the defensive improvement has continued into the current World Cup qualifying campaign.

Ludlow’s side currently sit top Group 1 after four games and are yet to concede a goal at the midway point. Following the match against England, Wales will end the qualifying campaign with three home games during the summer.

Twelve nations will once again compete for the Cyprus Cup this year, and once the three groups of four have been completed, a further round of games will take place on the final day to decide the overall standings.

Last year Wales were denied a 5th place finish through a penalty shoot-out defeat to Scotland.

Wales Squad: Claire Skinner (Oxford United), Laura O’Sullivan (Cyncoed), Loren Dykes (Bristol City). Sophie Ingle (Liverpool), Hayley Ladd (Birmingham City), Rhiannon Roberts (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Amina Vine (Wales Performance Squad), Rachel Rowe (Reading), Ellie Lake (Swansea City), Elise Hughes (Everton). Jess Fishlock (Seattle Reign), Alice Griffiths (Wales Performance Squad), Angharad James (Everton), Gwen Davies (Cyncoed), Nadia Lawrence (Wales Performance Squad), Helen Ward (Watford), Natasha Harding (Everton), Gemma Evans (Yeovil Town), Chloe Chivers (Oxford United), Charlie Estcourt (Bristol City – on loan from Reading), Kylie Nolan (Bristol City), Melissa Fletcher (Reading), Kayleigh Green (Yeovil Town), Hannah Miles (Yeovil Town)

Cyprus Cup fixtures

28 February
Group A – Finland v Wales (1pm) and Italy v Switzerland (6pm)
Group B – Belgium v Czech Republic (1pm) and Austria v Spain (6pm)
Group C – Slovakia v South Africa (1pm) and Hungary v Korea DPR (6pm)

2 March
Group A – Wales v Italy (1pm) and Switzerland v Finland (6pm)
Group B – Czech Republic v Austria (1pm) and Spain v Belgium (6pm)
Group C – Korea DPR v Slovakia (1pm) and South Africa v Hungary (6pm)

5 March
Group A – Finland v Italy (1pm) and Switzerland v Wales (1pm)
Group B – Belgium v Austria (6pm) and Spain v Czech Republic (6pm)
Group C – South Africa v Korea DPR (1pm) and Hungary v Slovakia (6pm)

7 March
Final Day – Kick-off times to be confirmed.