Kirby and Bright return for England games with France and Canada as Houghton misses

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Kirby and Bright return for England games with France and Canada as Houghton misses



The duo missed Hege Riise’s first game at the helm of the Lionesses in February, which ended in a 6-0 win over 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 suffers from an Achilles problem that ruled her out of Manchester City’s Champions League quarter-final first leg with Barcelona last week, with head coach Gareth Taylor admitting it’s difficult to know when she’ll be back.

Kirby and Bright missed February’s game with Northern Ireland due to their own injuries, with the duo returning on the occasion alongside Chelsea team-mates Niamh Charles and Carly Telford, both recalled. Karen Bardsley is also back as one of four goalkeepers for the 24-man 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 named interim head coach.

Who is and who is absent?

Ebony Salmon and Hannah Hampton were both called up in February, but are both absent from that squad. Hampton was recently excluded from competing for this summer’s GB squad in a high-profile incident which saw the Football Association apologize. 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 is still missing this month. The Lyon striker was not released by his club the last time, and this time his omission is due to a Covid-19 epidemic among the French champions.

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

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

What are the dates in England?

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 face Canada, led by a familiar face of Bev Priestman. The 34-year-old was with England for two years under Phil Neville, coaching the Under-17s and also serving as Neville’s assistant.

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

What is the full team?

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

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

Further reading

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