Published 29 March 2022 7 min read
England Women's Senior Team

Sarina Wiegman: EUROs squad will be similar to current group

Written by:

Frank Smith

England Lionesses head coach discusses the squad for World Cup qualifiers with North Macedonia and Northern Ireland

Sarina Wiegman believes her England Women’s squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers will be close to the group of players she selects for this summer’s home European Championships.

The Lionesses’ head coach has selected a 24-player squad for the games with North Macedonia and Northern Ireland next month and has welcomed back Chelsea striker Bethany England and Arsenal defender Lotte Wubben-Moy after the pair missed the Arnold Clark Cup in February.

Fran Kirby will miss next month’s games as the Chelsea star will be remaining with her club to work on her own programme and the vastly-experienced Steph Houghton is injured following surgery at the end of February.

England women’s senior team will be back in World Cup qualification action on Friday 8 April away to North Macedonia and then travel to Northern Ireland and a packed Windsor Park on Tuesday 12 April.

Wiegman said: "We've used a group of around 27 or 28 players this season so most likely if they keep performing and stay fit - some others might come back from injury as they're still recovering - but that might be the group or close [to it], otherwise they wouldn’t be in the squad.

"It's all about staying fit and keep performing and keep showing what they are capable for. It doesn't mean the door is closed for any other player, but if someone was to come in now then we would've probably made the wrong decisions earlier.”

Bethany England is back in Wiegman's squad after missing out in February through injury
Bethany England is back in Wiegman's squad after missing out in February through injury

These World Cup qualifiers follow the Lionesses winning the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup in February, after their 3-1 win over Germany and draws with Spain and Canada.

Wiegman said: "The Arnold Clark Cup helped a lot [with deciding the squad]. We said that was needed, so we've had qualification games [last year] and we have two more qualification games for the World Cup again. We needed those top-level games to see where we really are at and I thought we did well.

"We grew as a team on and off the pitch again and it gave me lots of information. I was pretty satisfied with the team and the performances we had."

The return of Chelsea’s England comes off the back of the striker scoring four goals in her last two matches for the Blues.

And Wiegman has described the Lionesses’ attacking options as a ‘luxury’ after welcoming England back into the squad

She said: “I am really happy for her because of course she was struggling a little with her injury and she came back and now she is having more playing minutes with her club, which is really nice and she is doing well. You can tell that she is feeling comfortable, which is nice.

“Up front we have a lot of competition but it is good that we have competition and it is a luxury to have such good players in our squad.”

29 Mar 2022 12:52

Sarina Wiegman discusses England squad


Head coach on squad for North Macedonia and Northern Ireland qualifiers

On the absence of Chelsea team-mate Kirby, Wiegman added: “Fran is doing ok. She is obviously at her club and has her own programme. 

“She hasn’t played the last three weeks so she is not ready to play and she has her own programme [she is working to]. I hope she will be back on the pitch pretty soon but we don’t know yet.”

England’s World Cup qualification could not have gone much better so far, with the six matches resulting in 53 goals scored and none conceded.

When asked about her expectations of the game with North Macedonia, Wiegman replied: “I expect that we will be in possession all of the time and we will be attacking, that we will set our goals around doing well in attack and not conceding any other goals, and hopefully scoring a lot of goals and creating a lot of chances. Northern Ireland will be a little different.”

She continued: “I know [about the rivalry with Northern Ireland] and we felt it when we played them here at Wembley, which I think is really good.

“I think they are growing, they have done well and I expect a more competitive game [than North Macedonia]. Although we won 4-0 here it was not that easy a game so I am really looking forward to it and it is going to be competitive.

“I think the environment that we will be playing in in the stadium, they have already sold over 12,000 tickets so it should be really nice.”

Wiegman was speaking the day after a ‘100 Days To Go’ countdown event for this summer’s European Championship, which included Lionesses Millie Bright and Jess Carter, plus former England stars Fara Williams and Rio Ferdinand.

England start their EURO campaign against Austria at Old Trafford on Wednesday 6 July and Wiegman was among those in the famous stadium to watch Manchester United versus Everton in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League on Sunday.

Wiegman said: “We expected [this summer’s EUROs] to be big but now 100 days out, tickets are getting sold out and it is really exciting. You could feel the excitement yesterday [at the 100 days out countdown event] and you could feel the excitement on Sunday when I was at Old Trafford in the stadium, where we have the opening game, which was really exciting too.

“It is only 99 days now and I think it will go really fast and I am really looking forward to July 6.”