October 16, 2021

Kirby & Bright return for England’s games with France & Canada as Houghton misses out

Spread the love

The duo missed Hege Riise’s first game in charge of the Lionesses in February, which ended in a 6-0 win against Northern Ireland

Fran Kirby and Millie Bright are all back in the England squad ahead of April’s friendlies against France and Canada, but they will be without captain Steph Houghton due to injury.

The defender is suffering from an Achilles problem that ruled her out of the first leg of Manchester City’s Champions League quarter-final with Barcelona last week, with head coach Gareth Taylor admitting it’s difficult to know when she will be back.

Kirby and Bright missed February’s game with Northern Ireland due to injuries of their own, with the pair returning on this occasion alongside fellow Chelsea team-mates Niamh Charles and Carly Telford, who are both recalled. Karen Bardsley is also back as one of four goalkeepers in the 24-player squad.

Sandy MacIver, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Ella Toone are included again after making their senior international debuts last month in what was Hege Riise’s first game in charge after being appointed interim head coach. 

Who is in and who is out?

Ebony Salmon and Hannah Hampton were both called up in February but are both absent from this squad. Hampton was recently cut from contention for this summer’s Team GB squad in a high-profile incident that saw the Football Association apologise. The young goalkeeper received the news less than two hours before playing a Women’s Super League game for Birmingham.

Salmon was a late replacement for Nikita Parris, who misses out again this month. The Lyon striker wasn’t released by her club last time, and this time her omission is because of a Covid-19 outbreak among the French champions.

Demi Stokes returns despite picking up an injury at the weekend in Man City’s win over Reading, while Beth England, who has missed Chelsea’s last four games through concussion, is also included.

It will be the first game England have played without Houghton, their injured captain, since November 2019.

What fixtures do England have?

England will face France on April 9 at the Stade Michel d’Ornano in Caen. It will be their first trip to France since the 2019 Women’s World Cup, in which they reached the semi-finals.

Four days later, the Lionesses will take on Canada, who are led by a familiar face in Bev Priestman. The 34-year-old was part of the England set-up for two years under Phil Neville’s tenure, coaching the Under-17s and also serving as Neville’s assistant.

She had spent five years with Canada Soccer prior to that and was appointed as the new head coach of Canada’s senior team back in October of last year.

What is the squad in full?

Goalkeepers: Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City), Sandy MacIver (Everton), Carly Telford (Chelsea), Karen Bardsley (OL Reign, on loan from Manchester City).

Defenders: Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Millie Turner (Manchester United), Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City).

Midfielders: Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Georgia Stanway (Manchester City), Ella Toone (Manchester United), Jill Scott (Everton, on loan from Manchester City), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Keira Walsh (Manchester City).

Forwards: Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Chloe Kelly (Manchester City), Beth England (Chelsea), Ellen White (Manchester City), Beth Mead (Arsenal).

Further reading