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England Women 2022 Euro squad announcement: Will Steph Houghton, Fran Kirby and Chole Kelly be in or out? | football-news

It’s decision day for Sarina Wiegman on Wednesday as she decides which players will represent England at this summer’s home Euros.

The Dutch coach has some tricky choices as she cuts her squad down to 23 players, having named an initial squad of 28 players at the end of May.

Ahead of the announcement at 5pm on June 15, Sky Sports News’ England reporter Anton Toloui asked current players, former stars, and a Women’s Super League head coach to give their thoughts on Sarina Wiegman’s selection dilemmas…

Houghton in or out?

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Steph Houghton’s season has been plagued with injury

Steph Houghton only managed five Women’s Super League appearances this season and has not played since January because of a recurrence of an Achilles injury.

She’s yet to play under Wiegman after picking up her initial ankle problem during the final training session before the Dutch manager’s first game in charge.

The 34-year-old, however, has a strong chance of making the final squad, choosing to work on her fitness at a private training camp at St George’s Park instead of going on holiday before the England team met up.

But does the former captain merit a place ahead of other in-form players?

“If there’s one person you’d put money on being in the best shape possible it’s Steph,” long-time team-mate Lucy Bronze told Sky SportsNews.

England Women head coach Sarina Wiegman has praised her side ahead of their clash with Germany
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Sarina Wiegman will pick her final Euros squad this week

“I completely understand why Sarina wants to bring her in to give her a chance. I know people say she’s been injured a lot this season but anyone that’s played with Steph, played against Steph, knows what she can bring on and off the pitch.

“She’s not the captain but she’s still a leader. The team knows that and respects that, Sarina respects that and she’s got as good a chance as anyone at being picked in the squad.”

“Do I think she will be in that final squad? Yes I do,” insists Aston Villa head coach Carla Ward.

“You’ve got younger players coming through playing their first major tournament and Steph’s experience will massively help.

“Everyone knows Steph’s a leader, a real leader as well as the quality and experience she can bring. She can be a soldier for Sarina.”

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Steph Houghton says she is happy to be back in the England setup after recovering from surgery on an Achilles injury

Houghton herself is also confident in herself – as you would expect from such a professional – ahead of Wednesday’s final decision.

“It’s been a tough journey, having the surgery but I’ve worked really hard to get myself in this position and I’m taking it day-by-day,” the Manchester City captain told Sky SportsNews last week.

“I’m excited to get back on the pitch and back to my best.”

Who misses out if Houghton is selected?

Niamh Charles could be among the players to miss out
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Niamh Charles could be among the players to miss out

England have four centre-backs that, it can be argued, each had their best seasons in WSL – Alex Greenwood, Millie Bright, Jess Carter and Lotte Wubben-Moy.

If all four and Houghton are picked then Niamh Charles is likely to miss out and Carter asked to be a back-up full-back.

Carter, however, has yet to complete a full team training session as she recovers from the domestic season but is not thought to be a doubt for the tournament.

Kirby making the cut?

Fran Kirby celebrates after scoring England's third goal
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Questions also remain about the fitness of Fran Kirby

Fran Kirby would usually be one of the first players on the team sheet, but she has not played since February due to illness.

England have three warm-up games this month for Kirby to get vital minutes, but does Wiegman risk a squad place to someone that is not guaranteed to start?

Ella Toone was the chosen No 10 during the Arnold Clark Cup, with Kirby pushed out wide on occasion.

England are stacked with wingers in the squad, so will Wiegman be prepared to give Kirby a slot if her match sharpness is a doubt?

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Lucy Bronze says she has decided where her club future lies and says she is fully focused on trying to help England win Euro 2022

“If Fran’s available, she has to go,” according to former England midfielder and new Birmingham assistant head coach Jo Potter.

“The wealth of experience her and Steph have is crucial to help a group get through those tough times.

“It’s not all rosy during a tournament and to have someone to lead the younger players and perform in major matches is invaluable. If she’s available, she’s on my list.”

Kelly, Parris, Russo – will one miss out?

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Lioness Chloe Kelly demonstrates her pool skills against Steph Houghton. Fluke or talent, you decide!

Chloe Kelly’s return from injury has given Wiegman a ‘nice problem to have’, as the coaches call it.

The Manchester City forward only made her return from an ACL injury in April but scored once and got three assists in the five games she played.

The 24-year-old had not even had a conversation with Wiegman before last month. Now, the former Netherlands boss may be preparing to give Kelly great news.

“I said when she got injured if she got back fit she’ll play a part at the Euros,” said Ward. “Now she she is fit and she is ready she 100 per cent has to be in that squad.”

If Kelly is selected then it is likely to mean one of the players consistently picked by Wiegman will miss out.

England captain Leah Williamson (right) is replaced by team-mate Nikita Parris during the Arnold Clark Cup match at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough.  Picture date: Thursday February 17, 2022.
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Nikita Parris only scored one WSL goal for Arsenal last season

Nikita Parris has only scored one goal in the WSL this season and may be sweating on her place despite previous Euros and World Cup experience.

Only Lauren Hemp has scored more league goals than Alessia Russo of all the players in the provisional squad but could the Manchester United player be the odd one out?

Former Reading and Notts County midfielder Jo Potter hopes not, saying: “Alessia Russo is a very well-rounded player, I’d like to think she’ll make the squad as she’s had a great season.

“She can play a vital role, especially coming off the bench. She can grab goals from anywhere so if Ellen White is lacking in goals then she’s the perfect replacement.

“Plus, she’s got nothing to lose and will have the bit between her teeth.”

Is there anyone almost certain to miss out?

Sandy MacIver is expected to miss out on the Euros squad
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Sandy MacIver is expected to miss out on the Euros squad

Everton keeper Sandy MacIver had not been selected in an England squad this year before the provisional squad was announced, while Manchester United midfielder Lucy Staniforth has only played 38 minutes in 2022.

Players can be replaced until the day before England’s first game if illness or injuries disrupt so the five players getting unfortunate news are likely to stay with the squad for the next few weeks.

Watch the squad announcement live from St George’s Park on Sky Sports News at 5pm and hear from England head coach Sarina Wiegman at 5.30pm. Also follow all the latest across Sky Sports’ digital platforms.

Anton Toloui, Suzy Wrack and Flo Lloyd-Hughes join Kyle Walker on Euros Kick-Off at 7.30pm live from England’s training base with all the reaction to the squad announcement.

Euro 2022: The groups…

Group A: England, Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland

Group B: Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland

Group C: Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland

Group D: France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland

Euro 2022: The schedule…

group stage

Wednesday July 6

Group A: England v Austria – 8pm kick-off, Old Trafford

Thursday July 7

Group A: Norway vs Northern Ireland – kick off 8pm, St Mary’s

Friday July 8

Group B: Spain vs Finland – kick off 5pm, Stadium MK

Group B: Germany vs Denmark – kick-off 8pm, London Community Stadium

Saturday July 9

Group C: Portugal vs Switzerland – kickoff 5pm, Leigh Sports Village

Group C: Netherlands vs Sweden – kick off 8pm, Bramall Lane

Sunday July 10

Group D: Belgium vs Iceland – kick-off 5pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium

Group D: France vs Italy – kick off 8pm, New York Stadium

Monday July 11

Group A: Austria vs Northern Ireland – kick off 5pm, St Mary’s

Group A: England v Norway – kick off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium

Tuesday July 12

Group B: Denmark vs Finland – kick off 5pm, Stadium MK

Group B: Germany vs Spain – kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium

Wednesday July 13

Group C: Sweden vs Switzerland – kick off 5pm, Bramall Lane

Group C: Netherlands v Portugal – kick off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village

Thursday July 14

Group D: Italy vs Iceland – kick-off 5pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium

Group D: France vs Belgium – kick off 8pm, New York Stadium

Friday July 15

Group A: Northern Ireland v England – 8pm kick-off, St Mary’s

Group A: Austria v Norway – kick off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium

Saturday July 16

Group B: Finland vs Germany – kick off 8pm, Stadium MK

Group B: Denmark vs Spain – kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium

Sunday July 17

Group C: Switzerland vs Netherlands – kick off 5pm, Bramall Lane

Group C: Sweden vs Portugal – kickoff 5pm, Leigh Sports Village

Monday July 18

Group D: Iceland vs France – kick off 8pm, New York Stadium

Group D: Italy vs Belgium – kick-off 8pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium

Knockout Phase

quarter-finals

Wednesday July 20

Quarter-final 1: Winners Group A v Runners-up Group B – kick off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium

Thursday July 21

Quarter-final 2: Winners Group B v Runners-up Group A – kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium

Friday July 22

Quarter-final 3: Winners Group C v Runners-up Group D – kick off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village

Quarter-final 4: Winners Group D v Runners-up Group C – kick off 8pm, New York Stadium

semi-finals

Tuesday July 26

Semi-final 1: Winners quarter-final 1 v Winners quarter-final 3 – kick off 8pm, Bramall Lane

Wednesday July 27

Semi-final 2: Winners quarter-final 2 v Winners quarter-final 4 – kick-off 8pm, Stadium MK

Final

Sunday July 31

Winners semi-final 1 v Winners semi-final 2 – kick off 5pm, Wembley

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