Interim manager Hege Riise said England Women have the talent to win a major tournament after naming her first squad on Tuesday.
Riise, who is holding the fort for the incoming Sarina Wiegman after Phil Neville left the role to join Inter Miami, has named a 20-strong group for a training camp and a friendly against Northern Ireland at the end of the month.
The squad includes a blend of youth and experience, with four uncapped players but also a core group built around Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze, Ellen White and Jill Scott, who is in line to earn her 150th cap against Northern Ireland.
Back together! 💪
Hege Riise has named a 20-player squad for our upcoming February international camp.
— Lionesses (@Lionesses) February 9, 2021
With a busy 18 months ahead which include the Tokyo Olympics and UEFA Women Euro, due to be staged in England in the summer of 2022, Riise believes England are well placed to contend for honours.
“I am looking forward to leading my first international camp with England,” Riise said. “I have watched a lot of England and club matches and believe this is a group of players who are capable of winning at a major tournament.
“My work from now until Sarina Wiegman’s arrival is to develop their ability, playing style and physical conditioning to contribute to future success – this summer and beyond.
“It is great for the players to have an official fixture to look forward to and is an opportunity to implement everything they have worked on from previous training camps.”
With a smaller group than usual named, Nikita Parris, Beth Mead and Carly Telford are among those missing from the squad.
Young prospects Hannah Hampton, Sandy MacIver, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Ella Toone are the uncapped quartet hoping to make their debuts later this month.
The group are due to meet up at St George’s Park on February 18 for training before the match against Northern Ireland, which will take place at England’s base on February 23.
Holland boss Wiegman is due to take over as England head coach later in the summer, but Riise is set to either manage or be assistant boss of Great Britain’s team in Tokyo this summer.
The Northern Ireland contest will be England’s first international since March last year, when they competed at the SheBelieves Cup.
Friendlies against Germany and Norway, scheduled for October and December respectively, were both cancelled for coronavirus-related reasons.