The build-up to England’s opening game of Euro 2022 has officially begun now that manager Sarina Wiegman has named her 23-player squad for the home tournament.
The Lionesses will kick-off against Austria in front of a sold-out Old Trafford on 6 July, in a fixture that is set to break the attendance record for a women’s European Championships match.
Wiegman has spent the last 12 months fine-tuning her squad and there were few surprises in the group named by the England manager on Wednesday, ahead of warm-up friendlies against Belgium and her former team the Netherlands in the coming week.
Those friendly matches will offer one final chance for players on the fringes of Wiegman’s plans to state their claim for a starting spot against Austria, even if England look to have already landed upon a first-choice team ahead of the tournament.
Here’s how to expect England to line up against Austria…
Ellie Roebuck’s injury lay-off at the start of the season led to both Mary Earps and Hannah Hampton having opportunities in goal, but expect the Manchester City keeper to get the nod.
Lucy Bronze is an automatic selection at right-back while Mille Bright and Alex Greenwood had outstanding seasons for Chelsea and Manchester City respectively this season and have struck up an excellent partnership at the heart of defence. There is a three-way battle at left-back between Jess Carter, Rachel Daly and Demi Stokes but the versatile Carter appears to have the edge.
Choosing to play Leah Williamson in midfield was one of the big calls made by Wiegman at the start of her reign and the England captain has impressed in what is a formidable partnership alongside Keira Walsh. A double pivot will allow for a creative number 10 and between Fran Kirby, Georgia Stanway and Ella Toone there is plenty of competition for the role.
Lauren Hemp was England’s standout player at the Arnold Clark Cup in February and has the potential to be one of the stars of the tournament from left wing. Ellen White is England’s record goalscorer and although she is not coming off the greatest of seasons for Manchester City, she is a different player for her country and her record cannot be counted out. Beth Mead, Chloe Kelly, Beth England and Nikita Parris will compete for the right-wing position but if Kirby is preferred in Wiegman’s front three, they may have to settle for opportunities off the bench.
Predicted England team to face Austria
(4-3-3): Roebuck; Bronze, Bright, Greenwood, Carter; Williamson, Walsh, Stanway; Kirby, White, Hemp
England squad for Euro 2022
Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Manchester United), Hannah Hampton (Aston Villa), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City)
Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Jess Carter (Chelsea), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal)
Midfielders: Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Jill Scott (Aston Villa), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), Ella Toone (Manchester United), Keira Walsh (Manchester City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal)
Forwards: Beth England (Chelsea), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Chloe Kelly (Manchester City), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Nikita Parris (Arsenal), Alessia Russo (Manchester United), Ellen White (Manchester City)