Lauren James, Niamh Charles, Katie Zelem: Which English players are in line for their first cap?

England prospects

England interim head coach Hege Riise is set to name her squad tomorrow for the Lionesses upcoming fixtures against France and Canada next month.

While the core of the team will likely be made up of seasoned internationals, a number of English players have impressed in the Women’s Super League recently and could be rewarded with their first caps if Riise decides to experiment with new options.

The Norwegian manager will take charge of Team GB at this year’s Tokyo Olympics, so these two friendlies would offer ample opportunity to take a closer look at some players as she considers her options for that tournament.

With that in mind, here are three players that deserve the chance to impress:

Lauren James

At Old Trafford on Saturday, Lauren James scored the opener as Man United comfortably beat West Ham 2-0.

Remarkably, the 19-year-old has now scored the first goal for the United women’s team in the Championship, the WSL, the FA Cup and at The Theatre of Dreams.

James is already renowned for her attacking flair but has started to improve her all-around work rate, much to the satisfaction of her manager Casey Stoney.

“It’s really pleasing for me to see,” the United boss said. “It’s something we have been working on and having conversations about for three years. She is now showing that side of her game.”

Having enjoyed a stellar domestic career already, perhaps it’s time she was given the chance to make history on the international stage.


Niamh Charles

Niamh Charles has been a revelation for Chelsea in recent weeks. Following the injury to Maren Mjelde, the 21-year-old has filled in at right-back for Emma Hayes’ side and seems more than accomplished in this position.

Though Lucy Bronze is bound to start at the Olympics assuming she’s fit, these friendlies would be the perfect opportunity for Charles to prove that she’s a suitable backup option.

Given the Chelsea youngster has played the majority of her career as a forward, she can offer the same attacking intent that Bronze so often shows in abundance.

The maturity she’s displayed in adapting to a new position so quickly further highlights that Charles is more than ready to cope with the pressure of playing for her country.

Niamh Charles

Katie Zelem

At 25 years of age, Zelem is no longer in the category of emerging youngsters, but Riise could instead be tempted by her leadership qualities.

Casey Stoney has placed great faith in Zelem to captain the Man United side and her calmness and composure in midfield has been a hallmark of why she is valued so highly.

Zelem was previously called up for England last September but was forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19.

As an integral member of a United side that is battling for Champions League football, the midfielder is surely due another chance to prove she has what it takes to play at international level.

Katie Zelem
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