Neville names England Women's squad for Belgium and Norway friendlies

Anna Patten

Phil Neville has named the England Women's squad for the forthcoming August and September friendlies against Belgium and Norway.

The 24-player squad will meet up at the FA's St George's Park base next week for the first time since their high-profile FIFA Women's World Cup campaign in France last month.

The Lionesses face Belgium at the Den Dreef Stadium in Leuven on Thursday 29 August (kick-off 7:30 pm local time, 6:30 pm UK). It will be the first meeting between the teams since a 2017 UEFA EURO qualifier at the same venue. 

Neville has opted for a blend of youth and experience as the Lionesses build towards the home UEFA EURO 2021, naming four senior debutants amongst his squad.

Chelsea's Bethany England and Manchester City's Aoife Mannion have been handed their first senior call-ups having both impressed for club and country.

Meanwhile, two of the Young Lionesses' bronze medal-winning U20 World Cup squad also receive their first senior call-ups.

Clemson University goalkeeper Sandy MacIver caught Neville's eye when she was awarded the Golden Glove for her outstanding performances in the 2018 tournament in France.

Defender Anna Patten, a graduate of Arsenal, now playing for the University of South Carolina, is the squad's other debutant, having earned 42 caps at youth level since 2010.

The inclusion of 20-year-old Patten and 21-year-old MacIver in Neville's squad signals his continued drive to bring the country's brightest young talent through the development teams and into the senior England set-up.

Meanwhile, 19 members of the Lionesses' FIFA Women's World Cup squad have been rewarded with call-ups, having reached the semi-finals in last month's tournament.

Neville has opted to rest Jill Scott after her outstanding World Cup campaign to manage the Manchester City midfielder's load ahead of the start of the Barclays FA WSL season. Fellow World Cup team-mates Ellen White and Karen Bardsley miss out due to injury. 

England Lionesses

Phil Neville said: "After a strong performance at the World Cup, but one which ultimately didn't quite bring the success we had hoped for, it's important that we now regroup and refocus on our next targets, which are of course to join forces with the home nations as part of Team GB's 2020 Olympics campaign and, ultimately, to be ready to win EURO 2021 on home soil in two years' time."

"In selecting my squad, it was important to me to ensure we're always working to bring exciting young talent through the pathway and into the senior team.

"I'm delighted to be able to give Beth, Aoife, Anna and Sandy their first senior call-ups. It's a huge moment in their careers, and they fully deserve the honour, has impressed me so much during last season."

The Belgium and Norway games mark the first step in preparations for UEFA EURO 2021, which will be played at nine venues across England. As the host nation, the Lionesses do not have to qualify for the final tournament. Those on view against Belgium and Norway will also hope to stake an early claim for inclusion in the Team GB squad for the 2020 Olympics.

These fixtures will be followed by an exciting clash with Germany at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Saturday 9 November – with more than 60,000 tickets having already been sold. 

England Lionesses

Fan's wishing to attend the Belgium or Norway should note The FA has an allocation of seats exclusively for England fans. Which is available to Lionesses Supporters Club members. Visit TheFA.com/joinlsc

News Now - Sport News