ENGLAND ANNOUNCE WOMEN’S SQUAD FOR VISIT TO SPAIN

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England qualified unbeaten for Euro 2017

England Women’s head coach Mark Sampson has named an expanded 28-player squad for his side’s two upcoming internationals in Spain.

The Lionesses will travel to Murcia later this month where they will face Norway at the La Manga Club (Sunday 22 January) and Sweden at the Pinatar Arena (Tuesday 24 January).

Notts County striker Rachel Williams returns to the squad for the first time since April 2013. She last played for England in the successful 2013 Cyprus Cup campaign.

Elsewhere, Williams’s Lady Pies team-mates Ellen White and Carly Telford are back following injury while Chelsea duo Millie Bright and Claire Rafferty are also recalled to the squad.

The matches are the first England will play in 2017 as they prepare for this summer’s Euros which take place in Netherlands.

Sampson said: “This camp gives us the chance to kick-off a massively exciting year for us on the right foot.

“Our aim this year is to hit the highest levels we ever have and ultimately to win the Euros, and this camp will give us a strong platform to build our preparation for the summer.

“As we are in pre-season we may be a little off the pace football-wise with no matches or on-pitch training ahead of this camp. However, the players have been aware of these matches for some time so I expect them to be physically and psychologically ready to compete with two excellent teams in Norway and Sweden.

“We have chosen to name an extended squad as we are aware that the players may not be ready for two high-intensity matches in a short space of time at this point of their periodised plan. It also gives us the opportunity to assess more players.

“We have a lot of work to do to be the team we want to become at the Euros and that hard work will continue in La Manga.

“Rachel Williams comes into the group for the first time in over a year and I am pleased for her.  She brings an incredible work ethic and physicality to our front line, as well as a huge aerial threat.”

England will face Scotland in their opening game of Euro 2017 in Utrecht (19 July) before facing Spain in Breda (23 July) and Portugal in Tilburg (27 July).

Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool), Mary Earps (Reading), Carly Telford (Notts County).

Defenders: Laura Bassett (Notts County), Gemma Bonner (Liverpool), Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Gilly Flaherty (Chelsea), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Jo Potter (Notts County), Claire Rafferty (Chelsea), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Demi Stokes (Manchester City).

Midfielders: Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City), Jade Moore (Notts County), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Fara Williams (Arsenal).

Forwards: Karen Carney (Chelsea), Danielle Carter (Arsenal), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Gemma Davison (Chelsea), Toni Duggan (Manchester City), Nikita Parris (Manchester City), Jodie Taylor (Arsenal), Rachel Williams (Notts County), Ellen White (Notts County).

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