England squad: Sarina Wiegman makes surprise changes ahead of Brazil and Australia fixtures
Arsenal defender Lotte Wubben-Moy and Manchester United captain Katie Zelem have been dropped from the England squad to face Brazil and Australia in the upcoming international break.
Lionesses manager Sarina Wiegman has recalled Manchester City defender Esme Morgan and goalkeeper Hannah Hampton, while uncapped West Ham defender Lucy Parker has also made the 25-player squad.
Wubben-Moy, a member of England’s Euro 2022 winning squad, was the driving force behind the Lionesses’ push for equal access to sport for girls in schools, but is behind Brazil defender Rafaelle Souza in the pecking order at her club. Zelem is also a surprise omission given her form for Mark Skinner’s Women’s Super League leaders.
Aston Villa goalkeeper Hampton returns for the squad for the first time since missing out due to “personal reasons” earlier this season, while the 22-year-old Morgan also comes back into the fold after missing out on England’s Arnold Clark Cup defence. Parker received her first international call-up in October but injury prevented her from making her England debut.
Elsewhere, there continues to be no place for Tottenham striker Bethany England, while Houston Dash forward Ebony Salmon also misses out having been included in the previous three squads.
Chelsea centre-back Millie Bright is included despite having to undergo a scan on a knee injury following her side’s Champions League fixture in Lyon last week, with Jordan Nobbs also retaining her place thanks to her form for Aston Villa.
Fran Kirby remains absent from the squad due to a knee injury. The Chelsea star has not played since February while club manager Emma Hayes has not put a timescale on her return, while Beth Mead is also still in rehabilitation following her ACL injury last November.
European champions England face South American champions Brazil in the inaugural women’s Finalissima at Wembley on Thursday 6 April. The Lionesses will then take on World Cup co-hosts Australia at the Brentford Community Stadium on Tuesday 11 April.
“We are getting closer to the World Cup and I can’t think of two better games to assess our progress,” Wiegman said. “After these games, there will be less than three months until we fly to the tournament and we must make every second on and off the pitch count.
“For us as a technical staff this will be the last chance to see the players within our England environment before we come together for the final preparation phase in June. And these two matches will be two real tests to see where we are at.
“This is a major new trophy and to compete for it at a sold-out Wembley is another special moment, both for us as a team but also for our fans. We will never take these occasions for granted and I want to see how we perform against two teams that will be hoping to challenge for the World Cup.”