Football

Interim boss Hege Riise names strong England women's squad ahead of Northern Ireland match

Coach Riise is taking charge of England Lionesses for the first time and has included Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze, Ellen White, and Jill Scott for the training camp as they step up UEFA Women's EURO 2022 preparations

By James Pratt ·

Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze, Ellen White, and Jill Scott are among the experienced players named in the first England women's football team training camp selected by interim boss Hege Riise.

The Norwegian coach, who won a World Cup and Olympic gold as a player with Norway, and helped coach USA to the Olympic title, announced an initial squad of 20 players on Tuesday (9th February) ahead of the home friendly match with Northern Ireland.

Ebony Salmon was then added to the Lionesses squad on Friday 12th February, her first senior England call-up having captained the Young Lionesses under-17 team.

The game on 23rd February will be the first competitive outing in almost a year for the English, due to cancellations because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It's also the first game since the departure of former Head Coach Phil Neville.

Scott could make her 150th appearance for the national team if selected for the match.

Coach Riise said: “I am looking forward to leading my first international camp with England."

"I have watched a lot of England and club matches and believe this is a group of players who are capable of winning at a major tournament." - England Coach Hege Riise.

The English will then play a friendly international with Canada on Tuesday 13th April. Both games are due to take place in England and without spectators present.

The two matches are seen as the start of preparations for the UEFA Women's EURO Championships in 2022, which also takes place in England.

New Head Coach Sarina Wiegman and assistant Arjan Veurink will take over the England team in September ahead of that tournament and with the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 as another target for success.

England's recent performances also helped ensure Great Britain's women qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021.