• Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

Return of the Lionesses

ByMarni Dagtoglou

Mar 2, 2024

After playing at club level since December, the Lionesses are back together for the February international break. England Women’s coach Sarina Weigman made the Lionesses squad announcement on February 13 in preparation for their World Friendlies matches in Spain.

The senior squad travelled to Algericas on February 19 alongside the U-23s for their four-day warm-weather training camp. “Travelling away for this camp will give us a great opportunity to connect again on and off the pitch and allow us to give minutes to many players,” said Weigman, as reported on England Football.

The squad includes Jess Park, who is replacing Millie Bright, who is still out due to injury. The Guardian described Park as ‘Manchester City’s surprise revelation’ following City’s win against Chelsea at Kingsmeadow on February 16. Park is one to watch as ‘one of the most exciting young talents in the WSL’ as reported by the Manchester Evening News. Young Tottenham player Grace Clinton also steps up from the U-23s.

There has been some outrage at the absence of Nikita Parris on the squad list. Questions as to why she wasn’t included follow her recent status as Manchester United’s top goal scorer. On top of this, having scored six goals in her last six games, Parris sits as the fourth-top goal scorer in the WSL.

Initially called up to this squad, Leah Williamson has now had to withdraw due to a minor hamstring injury, which had already kept her from playing at Arsenal’s sell-out game against United a week ago. This is the former England captain’s first national call-up since before her ACL injury, when she led the Lionesses to victory at the 2022 Euros. Manchester United’s Millie Turner will step up as a replacement, last called to play instead of Bright during the Women’s Nations League at the end of 2023.

With Williamson out as well as Bright, who has often led the team in her place, captaincy for the Lionesses still remains open. With Mary Earps, Lucy Bronze, and Alex Greenwood having each worn the armband in the past, Weigman certainly has a plethora of options to choose from, but the question of leadership currently remains unanswered.

As the England coach told The Guardian, “This camp is where the road to EURO 2025 in Switzerland begins.” In order to set the Lionesses on track for the upcoming Euros, Weigman must begin England’s campaign on a high.

Leah Williamson” by Ryanasman1 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.