Members of the England women’s team have met with the Professional Footballers' Association to discuss the sacking of their former manager, Mark Sampson, and the controversy surrounding allegations made by their team-mate Eni Aluko, who was again passed over for selection for the national side.
It is understood the players are considering releasing a joint statement in order to address several concerns they have as a group. The meeting was held in Manchester and was attended by players based in the north of England, with those in the south passing on observations.
A source close to the talks has confirmed to Telegraph Sport that the meeting took place on Monday and that it was to discuss the Aluko affair.
The Chelsea striker was left out of the England squad by interim manager Mo Marley on Tuesday ahead of their forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Bosnia and Kazakhstan, despite scoring five goals in seven appearances for her club side.
Sampson was sacked by the Football Association in September in the wake of allegations of bullying, harassment and racism made by Aluko. He was dismissed because of allegations of improper relations with his players when he was a coach at Bristol Academy, before he became England manager.
A third investigation into Aluko’s allegations, sparked when new evidence was presented to independent barrister Katherine Newton, subsequently decided that he had used racist language towards both her and team-mate Drew Spence.
The PFA acted on behalf of Aluko, vehemently criticising the way the FA handled the investigation into her allegations against Sampson. Aluko alleged in an interview with the BBC last week that she has not had any support from her former team-mates and has had no contact with any of them, other than those who also play for her club Chelsea.
She also claimed their response would have been different if she had been a victim of homophobic abuse and suggested they need to be re-educated when it comes to racism and the impact it has on victims.
However, the 30 year-old, who has admitted she does not feel as though an England recall is on the cards given the current situation, has apologised for publicly criticising her former teammates for celebrating their first goal against Russia in a World Cup qualifier with Sampson on the touchline, the day before he was sacked by the FA.
Meanwhile, Marley has given first senior calls ups to Manchester City’s Keira Walsh and Arsenal’s Leah Williamson, who played for her in the Under-19 team.
Manchester City goalkeeper Karen Bardsley returns from injury but Reading midfielder Jade Moore misses out following ankle surgery.
“These matches are hugely important to the World Cup qualifying campaign and we will be looking to get two good results, and finish 2017 in strong fashion.
“I know Keira and Leah well from the WU19 set up and they are both talented young players with lots of potential and playing well for their clubs, and I am pleased to welcome them into the senior squad.
“We are looking forward to ending the year with two home games. We are expecting good crowds at both matches and will be going out to put on two excellent performMeanwoleances for our supporters."
The Lionesses will face Bosnia at Walsall's Banks's Stadium on Friday, November 24 before travelling to Colchester where they will play Kazakhstan Tuesday, November 28.