World Cup star Keira Walsh will be unable to take part in England’s first Nations League campaign, with Sarina Wiegman making five tweaks to her 24-player squad from this summer’s World Cup.
The Barcelona midfielder was a regular starter for the head coach during England’s campaign Down Under, but will miss out on taking part in the Lionesses’ initial opening matches this month after picking up a minor calf injury.
England will open their Nations League campaign against Scotland in their first competitive meeting since 2017, facing off against the Auld Enemy at the Stadium of Light on Friday September 22.
Tottenham’s Bethany England is another player that Wiegman called upon in Australia was has been left on the sidelines, after undergoing hip surgery last week that is set to keep her out for a number of months.
In their stead, Wiegman has promoted Manchester United’s Maya Le Tissier, who was named to the Lionesses’ reserve side ahead of this summer’s competition, and Aston Villa’s Lucy Staniforth.
Keira Walsh (pictured) will miss England’s opening UEFA Women’s Nations League matches with an injury
Sarina Wiegman (pictured) announced her team on Wednesday, making five changes from her 24-player World Cup squad, with Walsh not included in that group for the Nations league
Ready to begin our UEFA Women’s Nations League campaign! 🏴 👊
— Lionesses (@Lionesses) September 13, 2023
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Le Tissier’s omission from the World Cup squad initially raised eyebrows after her blistering season in red for the WSL team, and at the time, Wiegman dubbed the decision to leave her out of the main squad a ‘difficult one’.
She and Staniforth are joined by Manchester City’s Jess Park, who was also named as a reserve for the Lionesses’ World Cup squad, but withdrew from the camp due to a shoulder injury.
As England prepare for another tilt at silverware, Wiegman has made minimal changes to the squad, with regular starters Alessia Russo, Millie Bright, Lucy Bronze, and Mary Earps amongst those called less than a month after August’s heartbreaking final against Spain.
The Dutch head coach opted against recalling Beth Mead and Fran Kirby, despite both the Arsenal striker and the Chelsea midfielder gradually returning to fitness after being kept out of the World Cup squad due to injury.
Maya Le Tissier (pictured) of Manchester United has been recalled to the squad after she was omitted from the team that travelled to play in Australia
Aston Villa’s Lucy Staniforth (pictured) was also included in Wiegman’s Nations League Squad
Both Mead and Kirby have been under consideration for club action, with Mead named in Arsenal’s Champions League qualifying squad to face Paris FC, and Kirby taking part in Chelsea’s pre-season friendly against Roma.
Wiegman admitted that both players were ‘close’ to being contention, but that their long spells of the sidelines and lack of match action had played a role in her decision-making.
‘They were some of our biggest fans (over the summer)’, Wiegman said of Kirby and Mead. ‘So that’s really disappointing, because they’re ready to go. They have been out for a long time, and they are probably not fully ready.
‘But in their minds, they’re ready to go. It just needs a little patience’.
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