England interim boss Hege Riise has spoken of the message of encouragement she gave to Hannah Hampton after the goalkeeper found out she would not be heading to this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
Birmingham’s Hampton was said to be left in tears when players were told whether they would be making or missing out on the shortlist for Riise’s Great Britain squad shortly before the club’s match against Everton on March 11, which they lost 4-0.
The Football Association subsequently said the timing was an error and apologised to the clubs and players concerned.
Riise, who was not involved in the timing of the notifications, on Tuesday described the incident as “a big mistake” and said she had called Hampton to apologise when she found out what had happened.
And regarding her conversation with the uncapped 20-year-old – who was not in the 24-player England squad announced on Tuesday – Riise said: “When I spoke to her, that was the message – that she will be a part of this going forward.
“Young, talented goalkeeper coming up. It will be ups and downs, but keep fighting.
“And she was OK – of course disappointed, as she should (be), but that should just motivate her more to fight for the squad in the future.”
Riise said the notification timing was “not my call”, and added: “It was sent out a couple of hours before the game. It was a miscommunication, and it should not have happened.
“So after the game David Faulkner (the FA’s team leader for GB Football) called the club, I called the club, and also the player, just to apologise for the timing of that email sent to them.”
Riise will name her GB squad for Tokyo in May.
Before that, the Norwegian – England’s temporary boss ahead of Sarina Wiegman taking charge in September – is set to oversee the Lionesses playing friendlies against France in Caen on April 9 and Canada at Stoke’s bet365 Stadium four days later.
Among the four goalkeepers included in the squad revealed on Tuesday was the recalled, experienced duo of Carly Telford and Karen Bardsley.
Other absentees from the 24 were injured skipper Steph Houghton and forward Nikita Parris.
The FA said forward Parris was unable to join as a result of positive coronavirus cases at her club Lyon – the outbreak has also led to their Champions League quarter-final second leg against Paris St Germain being postponed – and that “the situation is being regularly assessed”.
Riise expressed her hope that Parris could join up with England at some point during the April camp.
When asked if there had been any indication the France game could be in danger of not taking place, Riise said “that will be a concern”, while stressing “our plan is to go to France and play, and we haven’t heard any different”.
She added: “Of course we are planning for Plan A, to play France – if that won’t happen, then we have a Plan B, staying at St George’s Park.”
Of the 24 players in the squad, 23 are white. The men’s squad has considerably more players from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Riise said: “I think the talent is the most important (thing), and we just need to be open to having everyone that wants to play having a chance to play.”