Saria Wiegman hails Aggie Beever-Jones as Chelsea striker earns maiden Lionesses call-up

Opportunity knocks: Chelsea striker Aggie Beever-Jones has been named in her first Lionesses squad (The FA via Getty Images)
Opportunity knocks: Chelsea striker Aggie Beever-Jones has been named in her first Lionesses squad (The FA via Getty Images)

Sarina Wiegman hailed Aggie Beever-Jones’s “great development” this season, after calling her up for Lionesses duty for the first time.

The Chelsea striker, 20, has scored 11 goals in 15 Women’s Super League (WSL) games this season, having spent last season on loan at Everton.

Wiegman has named a 24-player squad for home and away Euro 2025 qualifiers against France in May and June, and qualifiers in July against the Republic of Ireland and Sweden.

There is a first call-up since October for Millie Bright, after five months out with a knee injury, and Maya Le Tissier, Jess Naz, Missy Bo Kearns and goalkeeper Kayla Rendell have been named on a four-player standby list.

“Aggie has had a very great improvement”, Wiegman said. “She has developed so well. She’s an open person and really wants to develop every single day on the pitch.

“She came into a training session in our February camp with some other Under-23 players and did well there too. I’m just hoping she comes in and goes out on the pitch with the players. She can play on the side, she can play in the centre, I’m just looking forward to it.”

It is the first squad Wiegman has named since the announcement last month that Aston Villa striker Rachel Daly was retiring from international duty after eight years as a Lioness.

“Rachel and I had many conversations before she made this decision”, the England manager said. “I already miss her, to be honest. We have to move on. But it is very strange not having her in the squad.

“I think it was powerful that she said: ‘Okay, this is where it finishes with me now and I just move on with club football.’”

Wiegman said of Bright’s return to the England fold: “I’m very happy. She’s very happy she’s starting playing again after a long period of injury and rehab. It’s very good for the team.”

The Lionesses head coach welcomes the competitiveness of England’s four-team Euro 2025 qualifying group, where they are second to France and above Sweden and Ireland after two games.

“It’s a huge test; I think they [France] are in a good place now too”, Wiegman added. “It’s a very physical team with lots of qualities and lots of options to play. We haven’t played them since I came in. I’m very excited.

“We’re in a very hard group. But that’s what we wanted — challenging games where, beforehand, you don’t know what the result is going to be.”

Wiegman also confirmed that Leah Williamson remains the nominal captain, despite the return of Bright, who skippered England at last year’s World Cup with Williamson out with an ACL injury.