#SheBelievesCup: Lionesses squad named

Gemma Bonner warms-up for England. (Photo: Charlotte Wilson for FA)

Phil Neville has named his England Women’s squad for the 2019 SheBelieves Cup in the United States which begins later this month.

The 23-player squad will meet up in London this weekend before travelling to the US for the prestigious four-team tournament involving the host nation, Brazil and Japan.

The Lionesses face Brazil in Philadelphia on Wednesday 27 February, before taking on USA in Nashville three days later and then Japan in Tampa on Tuesday 5 March.

All three matches will be broadcast live on the BBC.

England finished second in last season’s competition after recording a 4-1 win over France, Neville’s first match as head coach, and drawing 2-2 with Germany before slipping to a 1-0 defeat by USA in the decider.

Their fourth participation in the annual competition will act as vital preparation for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals where they will once again face Japan in their final group game.

There’s a return to the fold for Manchester City’s Gemma Bonner who last played for the Lionesses in a 5-0 victory over Kazakhstan in November 2017.

Bonner’s City club mate Lauren Hemp and Clemson University goalkeeper Sandy MacIver, who were part of Mo Marley’s U-20 squad that secured bronze at last summer’s World Cup, will also join the group and take part in training with the senior team.

The duo will travel to the US as part of their continued development around the senior England set-up but will not be able to play in the three fixtures.

Millie Bright and Jade Moore are to remain with their clubs as part of the long-term management of their return to full fitness.

Neville said: “The quality and depth of the squad is so deep now, which makes selecting 23 players a difficult task.

“It’s obviously disappointing for Millie to miss out on the SheBelieves Cup through injury, but our priority – and Millie’s – is to manage her rehabilitation very carefully.

“We are taking a long-term approach to her recovery process to ensure she is back to full fitness in time for this summer’s World Cup in France.

“Jade has shown great strength to overcome a long-term injury. After being out for a year-and-a-half, we all agree that her focus should be on returning to full fitness and finishing the season strongly with Reading.”

He continued: “We’re looking forward to working with Lauren and Sandy.

“Mo Marley and I work very closely together and we’re very passionate about the transition of young players into the senior team and seeing as many talented youngsters developing through the pathway as possible.

“That process doesn’t stop just because we’re in a World Cup year.

“We’re all looking forward to meeting up and everyone is ready and raring to go. These are exciting times ahead and this is a huge year for the Lionesses.”

On their return, Neville’s squad will continue their build-up for the World Cup with two games in early April against Canada at the Academy Stadium, Manchester City FC (on Friday 5 April) and Spain at Swindon Town’s County Ground (on Tuesday 9 April).

They will then host Denmark (Saturday 25 May) at Banks’s Stadium in Walsall before the visit of New Zealand (Saturday 1 June) to the Amex Stadium in Brighton just before the tournament, which begins in June.

Tickets for all four home matches are on sale now, priced £10 for adults (£7.50 for ‘early bird’ offer) and £1 for children.

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Squad:

Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Mary Earps (Wolfsburg), Carly Telford (Chelsea)

Defenders: Gemma Bonner (Manchester City), Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Alex Greenwood (Manchester United), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Abbie McManus (Manchester City), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Karen Carney (Chelsea), Isobel Christiansen (Lyon), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City), Georgia Stanway (Manchester City), Keira Walsh (Manchester City)

Forwards: Toni Duggan (Barcelona), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Nikita Parris (Manchester City), Jodie Taylor (Seattle Reign), Ellen White (Birmingham City).