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Published 14 May 2024 5 min read
England Women's Senior Team

Wiegman on France double-header, Bright's return and more

Written by:

Adam Drury

The Lionesses boss discusses her squad for EURO 2025 qualifiers against France, Republic of Ireland and Sweden

Read the squad in full

Sarina Wiegman faced the press on Tuesday after announcing a 28-strong squad for this summer's EURO 2025 qualifiers.

The Lionesses will take on France in a double-header at the end of this month and beginning of the next, before facing Republic of Ireland and Sweden in July. Wiegman explained a first senior call-up for Aggie Beever-Jones as well as what she expects from the French in her first matches against them as England boss.

Here's what she had to say.

On selecting a squad for both sets of matches…

We have known this calendar for a while now and we know that it's very challenging. We haven't had this period before where we don't have a tournament but we do have a May-June window and a July window so it's different. This is how we've decided to approach it. There are a couple of weeks between the camps where the players will be allowed to go on holiday and relax. They are professional players, they know what's right for them and I think it's very good to have a proper rest. My preference would be for them to stay in Europe rather than go to the other side of the world but the main thing is they come back fit and fresh.

Millie Bright returns to the England squad for the first time in 2024
Millie Bright returns to the England squad for the first time in 2024

On the return of Millie Bright…

It seems like a long time since Millie was with us. She's very happy to start playing again after a period of injury and rehab. She has two more games for Chelsea and then she'll come to camp. I'm very happy. This is what she has been working for all this time. We all hoped she would be back earlier but I'm really happy this is the moment she can come.

On Rachel Daly's international retirement…

I had many conversations with Rachel before she made this decision. I already miss her, to be honest. She's such a nice person and a great personality. But it's the reality now and we have to move on. It was very strange not having her in the squad because all the time since I came here she was with us. I think it's powerful that she said, 'No, this is where it finishes for me now'.

10 Apr 2024 6:24

Rachel Daly announces her Lionesses retirement

Rachel Daly announces her Lionesses retirement after an 84-cap career

On fixture congestion…

It is a talking point all the time. Of course that's why we have conversations with the players and I always say that we have to keep talking to each other. We have to listen to players first and of course we're in a professional environment. It's all about competing but also then get a balance between that and having some time off to rest and go again. In this period of the season prizes are being won and it's very intense.

On a first call-up for Aggie Beever-Jones…

Aggie has shown a great improvement. Last year she was at Everton on loan and she came into the Chelsea squad and she's doing really well. She's a very open person who wants to develop every single day on the pitch. When we had our February camp she came to the training sessions with some of the other Under-23 players and did well there too. I'm looking forward to working with her.

Aggie Beever-Jones receives her first senior Lionesses call-up
Aggie Beever-Jones receives her first senior Lionesses call-up

On what she's expecting from the France double-header…

 It's a huge test. I think France have been playing really well and they're in a good place. They are third in the rankings. They’re a very physical team, lots of qualities, lots of options to play. We haven't played them since I came in so I'm excited to play them. It's a very different opponent but it's going to be two very tough games.

On a tough qualification group…

This is what we wanted. We have a very hard group but we wanted challenging games that are unpredictable. We have had qualifying games in the past where we knew we were going to win the game but we just didn't know by how much. Now we don't how it's going to look by July.