Manchester City’s Chloe Kelly and Chelsea’s Fran Kirby have both been called up to the 24-man England squad for the Lionesses ahead of back-to-back friendlies against world champions USA and the Czech Republic.
The forward duo missed the Lionesses’ World Cup qualifiers last month but are now fit to return, with Sarina Wiegman opting to bring the duo back straight into the fold.
Midfielder Esme Morgan – who is yet to make her senior international debut – also returns to the side after first being called up in 2021, while West Ham’s Lucy Parker and Everton loanee Jessica Park make their debuts.
Speaking of Kirby and Kelly’s return, Wiegman said: “I’m really happy that they are fit again and able to compete. It’s good to have her back. You played well enough.
“It’s a shame they couldn’t come back in September but it gave chances to other players in the team.”
Everton striker Park’s call-up comes two days after she scored a superb solo goal in front of Sky Sports cameras in her side’s Merseyside derby win over Liverpool.
Wiegman said the decision to call up the 20-year-old was made after that goal but admitted the Manchester City striker had been on their radar for some time.
“We qualified for the World Cup, we have 10 months to prepare and it’s good to have a lot of talented players knocking on the door. And it’s a good opportunity to do that.”
“We’ve been following Jess Park for a long time, among others. She is in a good place. She can play up front, but also in midfield and is sure of the ball. Last year at Man City she spent most of her time outside. It’s exciting for them.”
And on Morgan and Parker uncapped, the Dutch manager added: “Two defenders, young players. We invited Esme last year, she got hurt and she came back very strong. She’s really excited to come in and see where she’s at.
“It’s different with Lucy Parker. She’s very athletic and was already in the youth teams, had some injuries with good preparation and good games. It’s good to have her on the teams and to see what they can achieve with more experienced players .”
The friendly against the United States on October 7 sees a packed Wembley Stadium and Wiegman couldn’t hide her delight at more high-profile games following the European Women’s Championship and the final Women’s Super League weekend.
“It’s really nice that we can go back to Wembley and it’s sold out,” said Wiegman. “We’re going to Brighton, we’ve had good experiences being there and they’re nice fans. But Wembley, 90,000, play the best team in the world.
“It’s a measure of where we stand. We want to compete with the best countries, we’re also one of them, we showed that. We have 10 months to find out what we can do better. I’m looking forward to it .” this game.”
England Women’s Squad
Goalkeeper: Mary Earps, Sandy MacIver, Ellie Roebuck
Defender: Millie Bright, Lucy Bronze, Jess Carter, Rachel Daly, Alex Greenwood, Esme Morgan, Lucy Parker, Demi Stokes, Leah Williamson
Midfield player: Fran Kirby, Jessica Park, Georgia Stanway, Ella Toone, Keira Walsh, and Katie Zelem
Forward: Lauren Hemp, Lauren James, Chloe Kelly, Beth Mead, Alessia Russo, Ebony Salmon
No surprise at Park’s call-up to Wundertor
Sky Sports football journalist Sam Blitz:
Everton’s Jess Park scored the goal of the game in Sunday’s 3-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield. A cool, composed finish after goalkeeper Rachel Laws was cleverly rounded in the penalty area.
Scoring a goal like that in front of nearly 30,000 spectators at Anfield was a moment most young strikers dream of – especially after missing a goal similar to this one in training the day before.
“I tried that in training yesterday and messed everything up,” she told Sky Sports after the game. “I’m just glad it went in tonight!”
In front of the Sky cameras, Park – on loan from Manchester City – revealed the advice Everton manager Brian Sorensen is giving her after missing out on such opportunities. “Easy, easy – pass in the goal.” It’s good to see that she’s taking that advice.
But how many more managers will Park work under, especially when it comes to an international perspective? The 21-year-old has shown she can handle the pressure of the big stage and now she has her first call-up for England.
A small issue for Park is that there’s too much competition for the Lionesses’ attacking roles, especially among players her age. The likes of Lauren James, Ebony Salmon, Alessia Russo, Ella Toone and Lauren Hamp are all under 23 and will make up the next generation of English talent.
But further performances like Sunday’s at Anfield and Park will be too hard to ignore. As Kelly Smith said, “If she keeps working hard and has all the vision, technique, speed and power, the world will be at her feet.”
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