England manager Sarina Wiegman has called up Lauren James and Ebony Salmon to her first squad since leading the Lionesses to Euro 2022 glory.
Wiegman’s side will play World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Luxembourg on September 3 and 6, with just a point needed to secure their place at next summer’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
James, sister of Chelsea star Reece, will hope to make her debut while Salmon has one cap to her name, which came against Northern Ireland last year.
England have called up forwards Lauren James (pictured) and Ebony Salmon as manager Sarina Wiegman names her first squad since leading them to European Championship glory
England Women’s squad for September’s World Cup qualifiers
Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Manchester United), Ellie Roebuck, Sandy MacIver* (both Manchester City).
Defenders: Leah Williamson, Lotte Wubben-Moy (both Arsenal), Millie Bright, Jess Carter (both Chelsea), Alex Greenwood, Demi Stokes (both Man City), Lucy Bronze (Barcelona), Rachel Daly (Aston Villa).
Midfielders: Ella Toone, Katie Zelem (Man United), Keira Walsh (Man City), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal).
Forwards: Alessia Russo, Nikita Parris (both Man United), Beth England, Lauren James (both Chelsea), Lauren Hemp (Man City), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Ebony Salmon (Houston Dash).
Manager: Sarina Wiegman.
*(New inclusions in italics)
Speaking on the inclusion of 20-year-old James, who has had limited game time in the last two seasons due to injuries, Wiegman said: ‘We have been following her since I came in and my former colleagues too. She didn’t play that much but she did play some [games].
‘We know she’s a very talented player. She did work over the summer and she also had a very good prep with Chelsea, playing minutes, and we wanted to give her a chance to show what she can do with the national team.’
Salmon, meanwhile, has caught Wiegman’s eye with her form for American side Houston Dash. The Dutch boss added: ‘She had her spot in the [England] U23s, I think that the value of the U23s is high too so we keep them also with us. She moved to Houston Dash, she did so well there.
‘She’s just a real goalscorer, that’s what she has shown over the summer. We really want to see where she’s at now. Last year she came in too and she just needed some more time. We are further now. She’s done so well so we really want to give her a chance and show where she’s at with our team.’
Chloe Kelly and Fran Kirby have both missed out on selection through injury. Kelly, who scored the winning goal in the Euros final, picked up a knock in Manchester City’s Champions League qualifier against Real Madrid.
‘They’re okay. Chloe is just a small thing but it’s too early to bring her in and let her play, she needs a little bit more time but it’s not too bad,’ Wiegman said.
‘Fran has a foot injury, it takes a little bit more time. I think she’ll be alright but this is too short and she hasn’t had that much training at all so she needs a little bit more time, it just comes too early.’
There are also recalls for midfielders Katie Zelem and Jordan Nobbs while Sandy MacIver has replaced Hannah Hampton, who Wiegman said is absent for ‘personal reasons’.
Wiegman has picked a fairly young 23-player squad with Lucy Bronze, 30, now the oldest member after Jill Scott and Ellen White announced their retirements this week.
White is the Lionesses’ all-time leading goalscorer while White made over 161 caps in 16 years. ‘That’s hard to describe in words, how much impact they had,’ Wiegman said of the duo.
The Lionesses brought football home in July, winning the Euros after a 2-1 win against Germany
‘They’d been with the squad for so long and they’ve impacted the game in England so much, and their personalities too.
‘I totally understand and respect their decisions but their impact on the game and everything and further than England is just incredible, we’re all so proud of them and thankful for what they brought to the game. I just hope they stick with the game in some role.’
Former captain Steph Houghton has not been able to force her way back into the squad after missing out on selection for the Euros. Wiegman said she had spoken to the Manchester City defender but insisted she needs to play more games before she can be considered.
‘As we spoke when we made the squad announcement for the Euros, she worked so hard, and she did whatever she had in her control to get back, and at the end we said ‘well she now needs rhythm’ but I can’t give her the rhythm, she needs rhythm to play, she needs a little more time.
And manager Wiegman has made several changes as the side look to qualify for the World Cup
‘That actually didn’t change that much [since then], she came in in her last game against Real Madrid [in the Champions League] and I just hope she can play more competitive games and get some football rhythm and see where she’s at.
‘I’ll have a conversation with her, I had a conversation with her this week, and I’ll have another conversation with her before we go into the next camp. But we’re just wishing she gets some minutes and rhythm.’
Wiegman is contracted with the FA until 2025 but said she will have conversations with chief executive Mark Bullingham and director of women’s football Sue Campbell.
‘I spoke to them right after the Euros and I got the exact same message that you have, we just came back from holiday, we now get ready for this camp and for the qualification matches that are very important.
‘I still have a contract now for three years so we don’t have to do that conversation tomorrow but we do it in a short while. But first it’s about the squad and the games and then we’ll sit down and have a conversation.
‘I just really appreciate that they’re reaching out to me and that they’re happy with me and also with the rest of the staff.’