Wiegman Stresses Importance of Players Being Ready To Compete

ImpetusJonathan Tay heard from England head coach Sarina Wiegman as she announced the Lionesses squad for next month’s European Championships (16/6/22).

Above: Fran Kirby – back to her best and in the Lionesses’ Euros squad. Photo: Lionesses.

England head coach Sarina Wiegman has named her 23-player squad for the upcoming European Championships.

There is a blend of youth and experience, with an average squad age of 26-years-old. Nine players will be taking part in their first major international tournament; Ellie Roebuck, Hannah Hampton, Jess Carter, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Alessia Russo, Ella Toone, Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly, and Beth England.

A short film, “Our England”, was released in conjunction with the squad announcement. Singer-songwriter Joy Crookes provided the voiceover for the piece, with cameos from David Beckham, Alex Scott, Ian Wright, Fara Williams, Sky Brown, and Rio Ferdinand.

Wiegman made the difficult decision to exclude from selection former England captain, Steph Houghton, who has been recovering from Achilles surgery in February.

Having not played in a match since January, and with the solid form of other centre-back options during the domestic season, it was always going to be an uphill battle for the 34-year-old Houghton.

She had also handed over the armband on a full-time basis to Leah Williamson in April, having held the captaincy since January 2014.

“Yeah, that was a hard decision, but I think she’s just not ready to compete” Wiegman conceded.

“We set a plan in place with her and for her, and she did everything [that] she could do, and we supported her as good as possible, but…it’s just a matter of time, and we don’t have that time.”

She sympathized, “It’s hard for every player that we had to disappoint, but of course for her, such a big player, who’s had such a big impact on the England game.”

Above: England head coach Sarina Wiegman made the tough call in leaving out Steph Houghton. Photo: Sky Sports.

Though Houghton did not make the squad, 20 out of 23 players did come from the top three of the FA Women’s Super League: Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester City.

One of those who did make the cut was the Blues’ Fran Kirby, who had been out action since February due to fatigue-related issues. The star forward has represented England at the last four major international tournaments, as well as Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics.

Asked why Kirby was included despite her prolonged absence, Wiegman stated, “Because she’s doing well. She has been in training for a while, playing games, playing training games, and she’s ready to compete tomorrow.”

The other exclusions from the provisional 28 players named in May were Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Lucy Staniforth (Manchester United), Katie Zelem (Manchester United), and Sandy MacIver (Everton).

England play their first friendly in preparation for the Euros tomorrow against Belgium, 8:00 pm at Molineux. Impetus will have Louise Wilks in the press box at Wolverhampton for the match bringing us dedicated coverage.

Full 23-player Squad:

Above: Hannah Hampton is rewarded for an outstanding season for Aston Villa by making the final squad for the European Championships. Photo: Ben Gilby.

Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Manchester United), Hannah Hampton (Aston Villa), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City)

Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Jess Carter (Chelsea), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), Ella Toone (Manchester United), Keira Walsh (Manchester City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal)

Forwards: Bethany England (Chelsea), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Chloe Kelly (Manchester City), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Nikita Parris (Arsenal), Alessia Russo (Manchester United), Ellen White (Manchester City)

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