Lionesses squad named for Belgium double header

Arnold Clark Cup - England v Belgium - Ashton Gate
James Whitehead / SPP

Sarina Wiegman has selected her Lionesses squad for this month’s UEFA Women’s Nations League clashes at home and away to Belgium.

Midfielder Grace Clinton and goalkeeper Khiara Keating are celebrating their first call-ups to the senior squad, while Fran Kirby and Keira Walsh return from injury.

Both Clinton – on loan with Tottenham Hotspur from Manchester United – and Manchester City’s Keating make the step up from the England Women’s U23s squad after their impressive starts to the new Barclays WSL season.

The Lionesses, who will be determined to bounce back after defeat in the Netherlands, face Belgium twice in quick succession in a finely-poised UEFA Women’s Nations League group. They will first be in action on Friday 27 October at Leicester City and then travel to Leuven to face the Red Flames four days later.

It is the Lionesses first trip to Leicester since a 1-1 draw with Sweden in September 1980 and a sell-out crowd awaits them.

Belgium are familiar opposition, with England defeating them in February of this year to win the 2023 Arnold Clark Cup and they also claimed a 3-0 victory in June 2022 in a preparation fixture for the UEFA Women’s EURO. The Lionesses’ last trip to Leuven was an entertaining 3-3 draw in August 2019.

Wiegman said: “It’s good for us to be back together. Obviously we had a good start with the win against Scotland; however, the outcome of our last fixture against the Netherlands was disappointing. We will be fully focused to perform well twice against tough opposition. Belgium’s results in the Nations League show they are talented side who can cause teams problems, so we will need to be at our best to get the results we’re looking for.

“The group is wide open, so every game is crucial. The squad have shown their ability to respond to setbacks and I’m sure this will be no different. We look forward to meeting up at St George’s Park next Monday and putting in the time to make sure we’re fully prepared and ready to go twice in quick succession.

“Again we feel very fortunate to be playing in front of a sell-out crowd. The support we are receiving from all corners of the country is amazing, it isn’t something we’ll ever take for granted and it really gives us that extra lift. Hopefully we can give them another night to remember.”

The UEFA Women’s Nations League campaign sees England also drawn with the Netherlands and Scotland in one of a quartet of League A four-team groups. Having beaten Scotland, and suffered a late defeat by the Netherlands, the Lionesses face the table-topping Belgians knowing the winners of each section will qualify for the semi-finals in February, before a final is played to determine the overall champions.

The Squad

Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Manchester United), Hannah Hampton (Chelsea), Khiara Keating (Manchester City), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City)

Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Barcelona), Jess Carter (Chelsea), Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Maya Le Tissier (Manchester United), Esme Morgan (Manchester City), Lucy Parker (Aston Villa), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Grace Clinton (Tottenham Hotspur, loan from Manchester United),Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), Ella Toone (Manchester United), Keira Walsh (Barcelona), Katie Zelem (Manchester United)

Forwards: Rachel Daly (Aston Villa), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Lauren James (Chelsea), Chloe Kelly (Manchester City), Jess Park (Manchester City), Alessia Russo (Arsenal)

England v Belgium
UEFA Women’s Nations League
7.45pm BST, Friday 27 October
Leicester City FC – sold out – live on ITV4 / ITVX

Belgium v England
UEFA Women’s Nations League
7.30pm GMT, Tuesday 31 October
Den Dreef, Leuven – live on ITV – tbc

Wales Women’s squad announced for Denmark and Germany fixtures

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