Lauren James ‘unfollows’ Mary Earps and Ella Toone in Lionesses spat

Lauren James before the FA Cup semi-final between Chelsea Women and Manchester United

England manager Sarina Wiegman has been given an unexpected headache ahead of the next round of international fixtures after a spat between Chelsea’s Lauren James and Manchester United’s Mille Turner threatened to cause a split in the squad.

Turner appeared to mock James on her Instagram account after Manchester United’s 2-1 victory over Chelsea in an FA Cup semi-final last weekend.

Turner, who was alongside James in the last England squad for the games against Sweden and Republic of Ireland posted a picture of the Chelsea star getting her in a headlock as they tussled over retrieving the ball.

The incident happened immediately after James had scored on the stroke of half-time and wanted to ensure the game restarted swiftly, with Turner looking to slow things down.

In celebrating United’s passage to the final, Turner posted the picture on Instagram with the caption “KAMMOONNNN”. She later re-posted that image onto her story, writing: “See you at Wembley my reds’ with a heart-eye emoji and a heart emoji”.

That has led to claims on social media that James had responded to the perceived jibe by unfollowing Turner, as well as her Manchester United team-mates Ella Toone and Mary Earps on Instagram.

Millie Turner and Mary Earps after Manchester United Woemn's FA Cup semi-final win over Chelsea
Millie Turner and Manchester United goalkeeper Mary Earps celebrating their FA Cup semi-final victory over Chelsea - Alex Livesey/Getty Images

All four are England team-mates and Wiegman will need to ensure there is no lingering animosity between the players when they meet up for the crucial European championship qualifiers against France in the summer.

Club rivalries are nothing new in international football but Turner’s decision to post the pictures may well have caused more friction than is necessary between team-mates. It is also a reminder that social media can cause more harm than good in the modern game and Wiegman will need to bring the players together to ‘bury the hatchet’ if a split has emerged.

James is a popular member of the England squad and there have been no previous issues in terms of team spirit in the Lioness camp under Wiegman.

Ahead of Chelsea’s return to action in the WSL against Aston Villa on Wednesday, James’ club manager Emma Hayes was asked for her thoughts on the possible rift.

“We don’t look at Instagram, she doesn’t have it, so I don’t know. I haven’t had the conversation about Instagram with her, we haven’t talked about it,” she said.

“I guess if you read it, or you look at it, I don’t know what the noise is, I don’t know what it says. All I know is that I am focused on what I do every day and my reminder to the team is that you continue to do those tasks.

“I can’t control anything outside of that, so I don’t think about it too much to be honest.”