Four debutants in Lionesses squad

Anna Patten gets an England call up
Anna Patten gets her first senior call up. (Photo: Lynne Cameron for The FA)

Phil Neville has named his England Women’s squad for the forthcoming August and September friendlies against Belgium and Norway.

The 25-player squad will meet up at St. George’s Park next week for the first time since their high-profile FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign in France last month.

The Lionesses face Belgium at the Den Dreef Stadium in Leuven on Thursday 29 August (kick off 6.30pm BST). It will be the first meeting between the teams since a 2017 UEFA Euro qualifier at the same venue.

The squad then travel to Bergen to take on their World Cup quarter final opponents Norway at Brann Stadium on Tuesday 3 September (kick off 5pm BST).

Neville has opted for a blend of youth and experience as England build towards the home Euro 2021, naming four senior debutants in his squad.

Chelsea’s Beth England and Manchester City’s Aoife Mannion have been handed their first official senior call-ups having both impressed for club and country as key members of Mo Marley’s U23 squad.

Meanwhile, two of the Young Lionesses’ bronze medal-winning U20 World Cup squad also receive their first senior call-ups.

First England senior squad chance for Sandy MacIver
U-20 World Cup Golden Glove winner, Sandy MacIver. (Photo: Paul Currie for The FA)

Clemson University goalkeeper Sandy MacIver caught Neville’s eye when she was awarded the Golden Glove for her outstanding performances in the 2018 tournament in France.

Defender Anna Patten, a graduate of Arsenal now playing for the University of South Carolina, is the squad’s other debutant, having earned 42 caps at youth level since 2010.

The inclusion of 20-year-old Patten and 21-year-old MacIver in Neville’s squad signals his continued drive alongside Marley to bring the country’s brightest young talent through the development teams and into the senior England set-up.

Meanwhile, 19 members of the Lionesses’ FIFA Women’s World Cup squad have been rewarded with call-ups, having reached the semi-finals in last month’s tournament which drew record TV viewing figures and unprecedented levels of support.

Jill Scott has been rested after her outstanding World Cup campaign in order to manage the Manchester City midfielder’s load ahead of the start of the new Barclays FA WSL season. Club mates Ellen White and Karen Bardsley miss out due to injury.

Neville said: “After a strong performance at the World Cup, but one which ultimately didn’t quite bring the success we had hoped for, it’s important that we now regroup and refocus on our next targets, which are of course to join forces with the home nations as part of Team GB’s 2020 Olympics campaign and, ultimately, to be ready to win Euro 2021 on home soil in two years’ time.

“In selecting my squad, it was important to ensure we’re always working to bring exciting young talent through the pathway and into the senior team.

“I’m delighted to be able to give Beth, Aoife, Anna and Sandy their first senior call-ups.

“It’s a huge moment in their careers and they fully deserve the honour, having impressed me so much during last season.”

The Belgium and Norway matches mark the first step in preparations for Euro 2021, which will be played at nine venues across England. As the host nation, the Lionesses do not have to qualify for the final tournament.

Those on view against Belgium and Norway will also hope to stake an early claim for inclusion in the Team GB squad for the 2020 Olympics.

These fixtures will be followed by an exciting clash with Germany at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Saturday 9 November – with more than 55,000 tickets having already been sold.

Those wishing to travel to Belgium or Norway should note The FA has an allocation of seats exclusively for England fans, available to Lionesses Supporters Club members.

England Squad

Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Manchester United), Sandy MacIver (Clemson University), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City), Carly Telford (Chelsea)

Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Alex Greenwood (Lyon), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Aoife Mannion (Manchester City), Abbie McManus (Manchester United), Anna Patten (University of South Carolina), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Jade Moore (Reading), Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City), Georgia Stanway (Manchester City), Keira Walsh (Manchester City)

Forwards: Toni Duggan (Atletico Madrid), Bethany England (Chelsea), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Nikita Parris (Lyon), Jodie Taylor (Seattle Reign).

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