Sarina Wegman will name her 23-man England squad for the Women’s World Cup at 14:00 BST on Wednesday, but with two key players ruled out through injury and fitness issues surrounding others, she has some important decisions to make.
Wegman, who made the announcement at home to Boldmere St Michaels’ primary club in Birmingham, will also have to make changes to her European Championship-winning side, with captains Lea Williamson and Fran Kirby certainly injured, while experienced duo Eileen White and Jill Scott have since retired.
Question marks remain about the fitness of striker Beth Meade and defender Miley Bright. Will Wegman risk the team’s champions, or will their absence open the door for any new names?
Can any injured player be included?
When Mead tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in November, it was widely assumed that the Euro 2022 top scorer’s dream was over.
Wegman he said in March The Arsenal striker was unlikely to make the squad, but in May Mead said she was “before the appointed time”.
The 28-year-old will not have played in a competitive match for eight months before the World Cup and it would be too risky to be included in the squad, even if she completes her rehabilitation, with only 23 places available.
Also of concern is Chelsea defender Bright, who has been out since March after undergoing surgery on her knee, although her manager at the club, Emma Hayes, said she You expect her to recover in time.
Bright is England’s main centre-back so there is a strong chance she will be selected even if there is a small risk she may not be fully fit for their opening match on July 22.
Elsewhere, Barcelona’s right-back Lucy Bruns She had keyhole surgery on her knee at the end of April but was expected to be fit in a month.
If her recovery goes as planned, a bronze will certainly be picked as England still have over a month to prepare for the World Cup.
Manchester City striker Jess Park She had to cut short her Everton loan spell In May due to a shoulder injury but is expected to be fit, although goalkeeper Sandy McIver has him She excluded herself.
Midfielder Jordan Nobbs is out with an injury at Aston Villa this month but hopes to be selected. However, she has not featured for England in a major tournament since 2017 after battling injury, so Wegman may be cautious about her record.
How likely is Hutton to be called up?
Injuries in defence, and in particular the absence of skipper Williamson due to an ACL injury, have raised questions about whether Manchester City’s Steve Hutton should be recalled.
The former England captain has not played under Wegman and was one of those dropped from the long list last summer despite his recovery from injury.
Hutton’s career in England appears to be over, but she has had a strong finish to the season, playing regularly for City and that could help her case.
With senior players Wyatt and Scott retired, and the experienced Williamson and Kirby absent, Hutton’s leadership could prove invaluable to England.
in April, Hutton said She still believes she has something to offer the team but “sometimes no matter what you do, you just won’t please somebody”.
Obviously, it wasn’t in Wiegman’s plans before, so it would be surprising if she was called up.
Who played his way into the feud?
There has been stiff competition for places in midfield in the absence of Kirby and Scott this year.
Manchester United captain Katie Zelm was pivotal for her club, finishing runners-up in both the Women’s Super League (WSL) and the FA Women’s Cup, and finishing the season on a high note.
That could help her case for selection on the sidelines for most of Wiegman’s tenure.
Another player in a strong struggle is Manchester City midfielder Laura Combs. After being called up by England in February for the first time since 2015, she stayed in the squad and did well.
Aston Villa goalkeeper Hannah Hampton was left out of the squad for eight months after the Euros for ‘personal reasons’, but has been in fantastic form this year and returned to the England squad in March.
With MacIver injured, Hampton will be extremely confident of selection alongside Manchester City’s Eli Roebuck and Manchester United’s Marie Erbes.
Perhaps one of Wegman’s biggest decisions has been the selection of Tottenham striker Bethany England, who has scored 13 goals since her January move from Chelsea.
She is the second-highest English goalscorer in the Women’s Football League this season, behind Aston Villa’s Rachel Daly, but Wegman has ignored her since the European Championship.
Leaving her would be a controversial decision, but there is competition to attack places.
Will any strangers be considered?
Wiegman likes consistency – picking the same starting line-up throughout the Euros – so it would be a huge surprise if she appointed an incomplete player to the squad.
Goalkeeper Emily Ramsey was named this year but did not feature due to injury, while Manchester United striker Leah Galton, who has been very influential with her club, has been selected. She said she was “still satisfied” Not participating internationally.
However, one player who would welcome a call-up is defender Anna Batten, who has spent this season on loan at Aston Villa where she formed a formidable partnership with Daniel Turner at centre-back.
She has been featured in England’s youth teams and could be considered an option with Williamson injured to create space.
Another player with an outside opportunity is Manchester United’s Hannah Blundell. She’s started every game but one at left wing-back in the WSL this season, and England are sorely short of options in that position.