Skip to main content
Published 04 October 2023 7 min read
England Women's Senior Team

England's Black Lionesses

Written by:

Nicholas Veevers and Frank Smith

October is Black History Month and with the theme for 2023 being about ‘Saluting our Sisters’, we put together a list of the 23 Black players to have represented the England women's senior team over the years


Kerry Davis
Legacy Number: 59
Debut: 1982

The first Black woman to represent and score for England, Kerry (pictured above, with our most recent Black player, Lauren James) went on to hold the team’s record goalscorer title for many years, until her tally was eclipsed by Kelly Smith in 2012 and then Ellen White in 2021. During her international career, she featured at the old European Championship Finals in 1984 and 1987 and also at the World Cup in 1995 with plenty of goals along the way. Hailing from Stoke-on-Trent, Kerry was first spotted playing for Crewe Alexandra before she moved to Italy for a four-year spell with ROI Lazio, Trani and Napoli. After heading back to England, she played for Crewe, Liverpool and Croydon, who she helped to a league and cup double in 1996.

Hope Powell
Legacy Number: 61
Debut: 1983

An England legend as both a player and head coach. After making her debut in a 6-0 win over Ireland at the old Elm Park in Reading in September 1983, Hope was a regular on the international scene for 15 years in tandem with her career at Millwall Lionesses, Friends of Fulham and Croydon, where she won the Women’s FA Cup in 1996. She then crossed over into management having started her coach education in her teens, and became the first Black manager of any England representative team when she took over as Lionesses head coach in 1998 at the age of 31. She spent 15 years in charge and not only did she help the team improve and develop on the pitch, she played a major role in breaking down barriers too. Hope led England to the EUROs of 2005, 2009 (where they finished as runners-up) and 2013, plus to World Cups in China 2007 and Germany 2011. Awarded an OBE in 2002 and then a CBE in 2010, Hope was also the first woman to gain the UEFA Pro Licence in 2007. More recently, she's been the manager of Brighton & Hove Albion in the Barclays WSL, acted on the coaching staff of the England men's under-20s in 2023 and is now director of women's football for Birmingham City.

Brenda Sempare
Legacy Number: 62
Debut: 1983

The midfielder was an inspirational member of the England squad who travelled to Sweden for their maiden World Cup appearance in 1995, where she featured in all four games and also played in the early iteration of the European Championships in 1984 and 1987. She picked up 55 caps and scored five goals for the Lionesses while playing domestically for Friends of Fulham and Croydon Ladies, who she helped to an FA Cup title in 1996.
08 Mar 2022 18:36

Black, England & Proud: Hope Powell

The former Lionesses player and coach speaks about leaving a legacy for Black women in football

Samantha Britton
Legacy Number: 88
Debut: 1991

An extremely versatile player, Samantha could feature in defence, midfield and attack and was a part of the squad who featured in England’s first Women’s World Cup appearance in Sweden 1995. At club level, Yorkshire-born Samantha started out at hometown club Huddersfield Town before going on to represent Arsenal, Croydon, Doncaster Rovers Belles, Everton and Leeds United.

Mary Phillip
Legacy Number: 114
Debut: 1996

The first Black player to captain England women’s senior team, Mary was a solid and versatile defender who enjoyed a 13-year career on the international scene and won 65 caps. She made her debut while still a teenager on the books of Millwall Lionesses, where she was a team-mate of England head coach Hope Powell. After winning her first six caps, Mary had four years out of the international game following the birth of her children before returning in 2002 and helping the Lionesses to qualify for the 2007 World Cup in China. After leaving Millwall, Mary went on to play for Fulham, Arsenal and Chelsea before retiring in 2008 with seven FA Cups and five Premier League titles to her name. She’s now the head coach of Peckham Town and has also worked as an assistant coach with England’s development teams in recent years.

Rachel Yankey
Legacy Number: 126
Debut: 1997

A Lionesses legend with 129 caps and 19 goals, and the poster girl that adorned many a youngsters’ bedroom wall during her career with England and Arsenal in particular. A skilful and pacy forward, Rachel's international career began with a debut goal against Scotland in 1997 and she went on to play at EURO 2005 and 2013 and the World Cup in 2007, as well as representing Team GB at the 2012 London Olympics. Her honours list at club level includes eleven Women’s FA Cup titles, two WSL medals and six league titles in the old FA Women’s Premier League. Now working as a coach with young players in schools, Rachel received an MBE in 2014.
Rachel Yankey in typically attacking form during a game against USA in 2003
Rachel Yankey in typically attacking form during a game against USA in 2003
Una Nwajei
Legacy Number: 142
Debut: 2002

The striker first came to attention after starting out with Southampton Saints while she was studying in the city, which not only earned her a move to Fulham in 2002 but also an England call-up. She featured in the Algarve Cup in Portugal in March of that year and went on to earn three caps before her career took her to Norway and successful spells with Amazon Grimstad and Strommen.

Carmaine Walker
Legacy Number: 148
Debut: 2003

Hailing from south London, Carmaine was a striker who made her name as a regular goalscorer with the likes of Crystal Palace, Charlton Athletic, Croydon Athletic and Millwall Lionesses. It was during her time with Charlton that she received her first international call-up in early 2003, before making her debut against Italy in the February as she went on to earn seven caps. Carmaine also picked up an FA Cup winner's medal with Croydon in 2000.

Anita Asante
Legacy Number: 152
Debut: 2004

After impressing with England’s development teams as a strong and reliable defender or midfielder, Anita made her senior team debut in a game against Iceland in 2004. She went on to represent the Lionesses 71 times, including appearances at the EUROs in 2005, 2009 and 2013 as well as the 2011 World Cup in Germany. After playing for Arsenal and Chelsea domestically, she enjoyed two impressive spells overseas in the USA between 2009 and 2011 before taking in a six-season stint in Sweden with Gothenburg and Rosengard. Since retiring, Anita has moved into coaching with Bristol City and has also become a well-regarded voice in the media.
Anita Asante takes control in midfield during a game with Japan at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany
Anita Asante takes control in midfield during a game with Japan at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany
Eniola Aluko
Legacy Number: 154
Debut: 2004

A pacy forward with an eye for goal, Eni was still studying for her A-Levels at school when she featured for the Lionesses at the 2005 EURO on home soil after emerging through England’s development teams in her teens. She became a key figure in the squad for the next 12 years, going on to represent the Lionesses at the World Cup in 2007, 2011 and 2015 and the EURO Finals of 2005 and 2009, when she helped Hope Powell’s team to a runners-up medal. In total, Eni reached 105 caps and scored 33 goals. She also had a glittering domestic career, representing her hometown Birmingham City, Charlton Athletic, Chelsea and Juventus, winning four Women’s FA Cups and three WSL titles. Since her playing career ended, Eni has put her academic talents to good use by working as a sporting director with Aston Villa and Angel City in the USA as well as being a regular pundit in the media. Eni was awarded an MBE in 2023 and was also listed in the 2020 Powerlist to recognise the 100 most influential Black Britons.

Alex Scott
Legacy Number: 155
Debut: 2004

A bona-fide Lionesses legend, Alex began her career with Arsenal where she worked her way into Hope Powell’s England squad for what turned out to be a 13-year international career yielding 140 caps and 12 goals. She represented her country at three World Cups (2007, 2011 and 2015) and four EUROs (2005, 2009, 2013 and 2017) and was an exciting, consistent and reliable attacking right-back in that time. Away from England and Arsenal, she also had a spell with Birmingham City and two years in the USA with Boston Breakers. More recently, Alex has become a familiar face in the media as a popular presenter, broadcaster and writer.

Lianne Sanderson
Legacy Number: 162
Debut: 2006

The fleet-footed Londoner burst onto the scene as a youngster with Arsenal, where her form saw her called into Hope Powell’s squad in May 2006. She went on to feature at both the 2007 World Cup in China and the 2009 EUROs in Sweden and picked up a half-century of caps along with 15 goals. Following a spell with Chelsea, she played for the likes of Philadelphia Independence, DC United and Boston Breakers in the USA, Espanyol in Spain, Appollon Limassol in Cyprus and Juventus in Italy. Following her retirement from football, Lianne has become a regular face and voice in the sports media.
England head coach Hope Powell speaks to Alex Scott and Eni Aluko during training ahead of UEFA EURO 2005
England head coach Hope Powell speaks to Alex Scott and Eni Aluko during training ahead of UEFA EURO 2005
Jessica Clarke 
Legacy Number: 168
Debut: 2009

Jess's talent was clear from a young age – she started the 2006 Women’s FA Cup final for hometown club Leeds at the age of 16 after all. Jess represented England at several age groups and it seemed only a matter of time before she would make her senior debut, which came in 2009’s 6-0 win over South Africa. The pacy and skilful winger was named in the England squad for the 2009 EURO, with Hope Powell starting the 20-year-old in the semi-final victory over the Netherlands. Jess would also attend the 2013 EURO and went on to collect more than 50 caps for her country. After spells with Notts County, Liverpool and Sheffield United, Jess is now plying her trade with Barclay's Women's Championship side Durham.

Fern Whelan
Legacy Number: 177
Debut: 2011

Another of the England internationals from Merseyside, Fern had already won the Women’s FA Cup with Everton before making her first England senior team outing. The defender was an integral member of Lionesses squads at the 2007 Under-19 EURO and 2008 U20 World Cup. After coming through at Liverpool, Fern spent a number of years at neighbouring Everton and it was during this time that she was given her England debut in 2011. She would go on to win three caps that year under Hope Powell before another serious knee injury saw her miss London 2012 and EURO 2013. After spells at Notts County and Everton, Fern was a key member of Brighton & Hove Albion’s squad under her former England boss Powell before she was forced to take early retirement due to injury.

Demi Stokes
Legacy Number: 183
Debut: 2014

Born in the Midlands but raised in South Shields, Demi joined Sunderland age 16 and was a key member of the Black Cats squad that reached the Women’s FA Cup Final in 2009 – the same year she helped England win the U19 EURO in Belarus. Her first senior England outing came in January 2014 in her fourth year at the University of Florida and the left-back would be a mainstay for the best part of a decade. She was part of the Lionesses squad who reached the semi-finals of the 2017 UEFA Women’s EURO and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup before helping lift her country’s first major honour at EURO 2022. The incredibly strong defender currently has 69 caps to her name, with her solitary goal coming in the 9-0 demolition of Montenegro in 2014.
11 Feb 2022 12:08

Black, England & Proud: Demi Stokes

The Lionesses defender speaks about her Caribbean heritage and pride at representing England

Danielle Carter
Legacy Number: 190
Debut: 2015

Danielle worked her way through the England ranks to receive a first senior call-up in 2013. Quick, strong and with an eye for goal, Danielle joined Arsenal from Leyton Orient’s centre of excellence and was a key part of the Gunners’ side and England’s youth teams for a number of years. The striker scored at U17 and U20 World Cups for England before marking her senior debut against Estonia with a hat-trick. Twelve months later she repeated the feat against the same opposition. After more than a decade with the Gunners, Danielle had spells with Reading and Brighton & Hove Albion before joining London City Lionesses in the summer of 2023.

Drew Spence
Legacy Number: 192
Debut: 2015

Drew is a Chelsea legend having spent 14 years with the Blues, scoring 50 goals in 238 appearances before moving to Tottenham Hotspur in 2022. The midfielder has won the WSL title five times, lifted the FA Cup on three occasions, claimed the Continental Cup twice and has one Community Shield under her belt. Her consistent performances saw Drew make her England debut at the Yongchuan International Tournament in October 2015. Drew opted to switch allegiance to Jamaica in 2021 and was part of the squad that competed at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Nikita Parris
Legacy Number: 196
Debut: 2016

Toxteth’s Nikita joined Everton’s Centre of Excellence at the age of 14 and was quickly tipped for the top. Impressive performances for the Toffees and then Manchester City saw the talented forward called up by England’s senior team in 2016, making her bow against Serbia in the June and scoring her first goals – a brace – against the same opponents just three days later. ‘Keets would go on to score at the 2017 UEFA Women’s EURO and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup before winning the Champions League with Lyon. The versatile forward, whose record currently reads 17 goals in 71 appearances for the Lionesses, helped her country lift a first SheBelieves Cup in 2019, a maiden UEFA Women’s EURO crown in 2021 and the Arnold Clark Cup the following year. 
Nikita Parris has been an England regular since her debut for the Lionesses in 2016
Nikita Parris has been an England regular since her debut for the Lionesses in 2016
Jess Carter
Legacy Number: 201
Debut: 2017

Jess may have started playing football as a youngster at Junior Woodies and Woodloes Juniors but she didn’t join a professional club until just before her 16th birthday, when she signed for Birmingham City’s Centre of Excellence. A senior debut for the Blues at just 16 showed her potential and her performances resulted in a maiden England call-up and PFA Young Player of the Year award in 2017. They were swiftly followed by a first Lionesses cap shortly after her 20th birthday, as a 77-minute substitute against Kazakhstan in November 2017. However, Jess, who moved to Chelsea in 2018, had to wait another four years for her next senior call-up when Sarina Wiegman named the versatile defender in her first squad. Jess has been a regular since and was a key part of the squad that won the UEFA Women’s EURO in 2022 and one of the team's best performers as they reached the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer.

Gabrielle George
Legacy Number: 206
Debut: 2018

Born in Wythenshawe, Gabby grew up in Manchester and alongside playing boys' football also featured for Blackpool Girls and Manchester United's centre of excellence. Gabby went on to make her Everton debut at the age of 17 and featured in the 2014 Women's FA Cup Final. Having featured for England at the UEFA EURO Finals at U17 and U19 level as well as an U20 World Cup, the centre-back’s senior call-up was at the 2018 SheBelieves Cup in the USA, with her debut arriving later that year when she featured in a 6-0 win over Kazakhstan in September. A serious knee injury in early 2020 set her development back but she returned to the England squad in April 2022 and following a deadline day move to Manchester United in the summer of 2023, is now looking to add to her two caps.

Chioma Ubogagu
Legacy Number: 210
Debut: 2018

Chioma was born in London before moving to the United States as a young child. There she developed into one of the most talented forwards in the country and went on to enjoy a hugely successful collegiate career. Chioma represented the United States at multiple age groups at youth level and was a huge part of the Stars and Stripes winning the U20 World Cup in 2012. After switching the States for London once again to join Arsenal, Chioma returned to play for Houston Dash and Orlando Pride before making a move to European giants Real Madrid in 2019 and then Tottenham in 2021. Chioma had been called up by the senior USA side but after not featuring, switched her allegiance to England and scored on her senior international debut during the 3-0 win over Austria in 2018, before going on to make two further appearances for the Lionesses.
Jess Carter was one of England's stand-out performers at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup
Jess Carter was one of England's stand-out performers at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup
Ebony Salmon 
Legacy Number: 219
Debut: 2021

Growing up in Kingswinford in the West Midlands, Ebony’s footballing journey started alongside her two older brothers, Leon and Levi. After playing at Gornal Colts’ boys’ team until the age of 14, Ebony spent time at Aston Villa, Manchester United and Sheffield United before she really made her mark at Bristol City. Her performances resulted in a first senior team call-up by Hege Riise in 2021, making her debut against Northern Ireland. Ebony’s impressive record at Racing Louisville in the United States meant she was part of Sarina Wiegman’s first England squad but after losing her place at club level, Ebony spent time with England Under-23s before earning a recall following EURO 2022. Now back in the Barclays Women’s Super League with Aston Villa, the dangerous striker will be looking to add to her four senior caps and score her first Lionesses goal.

Lauren James
Legacy Number: 223
Debut: 2022

Lauren has long been tipped for the top and in recent years she has shown why. The incredibly talented forward grew up in Mortlake where alongside her brothers Josh and Reece – who also plays for England and Chelsea – they were coached by dad Nigel, who runs his own successful academy. After spells at Chelsea and Arsenal in her teens, Lauren really made her mark at Manchester United before returning to the Blues in a big-money move during the summer of 2021. A former England youth international, Lauren made her senior debut in 2022 and her influence on the team grew and grew to the point where she became a key part of the Lionesses side. At the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Lauren’s stock rose even more with some stunning displays and goals on their way to the final.