England will defend the SheBelieves Cup in the United States between March 5-11, and Phil Neville has selected three players who are yet to be capped by the senior national team.
Of the 23 players in the squad, 11 of them are 25-years-old or younger. There will be an opportunity for three players to make their senior international debuts – West Ham’s Grace Fisk, Everton’s Sandy Maclver, and North Carolina Tar Heel’s Alessia Russo.
Alongside the fresh faces, Neville has called up Everton forward Chloe Kelly, who only has one cap to her name to date – coming in a friendly win over Austria in November 2018. Manchester City’s Lauren Hemp is another player who could add to her list of Lionesses’ appearances, having only made three so far.
“Until you give young people an opportunity, you never know if they can step up. That’s what we’re going to do at the SheBelieves Cup,” said Neville. England opens its SheBelieves Cup campaign against the USA on March 6 at 12am. So who are the new players in the squad?
Fisk has played for the Lionesses at every age group, making a combined 30 appearances. The 22-year-old was captain of the England under-20 side that came third in the World Cup in 2018. She joined West Ham from the University of South Carolina in January and has since made four appearances.
Neville is an admirer of Fisk’s recent Women’s Super League performances, outlining her bravery despite her team”s current WSL form.
“She has composure, confidence, courage – that courage, when your team is doing badly, you can see the character,” said Neville.
Maclver has pipped Manchester United’s Mary Earps to a place in Neville’s squad. Another player who spent time in the States, having played for Clemson Tigers between 2016-19. She has been part of an England squad before when she was called up for friendly games against Belgium and Norway last summer.
“Ultimately it was a choice between [Chelsea goalkeeper] Carly Telford and Mary Earps because I was never going to take a keeper of that experience, just to play them as a third choice and not get them on the pitch,” said Neville, when asked about his decision.
The 21-year-old is doubtful to start any games during the tournament, as experienced Chelsea goalkeeper Carly Telford and Manchester City’s Ellie Roebuck are also in the squad.
Rosso currently plays her trade in the USA with North Carolina Ter Heels at the college level, having previously played for Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion. The 21-year-old is another player to feature at several youth levels for the Lionesses and was selected to replace Lucy Bronze – who withdrew from the squad with injury.
Forward options within Neville’s team are very competitive, with Rosso being one of seven attacking options.
Game-time is unlikely for her, but Neville is adamant the youthful players picked for his side are deserving of their places and will “hunt in packs together” to create opportunities.
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