England boss Sarina Wiegman is set to name her first squad since the summer’s historic Euros triumph on Wednesday – and the first after Ellen White and Jill Scott’s retirements.
After securing their first piece of major silverware with the 2-1 extra-time victory over Germany at Wembley on July 31, the Lionesses will be back in action with World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Luxembourg on September 3 and 6.
Wiegman’s squad for the double-header is to be confirmed on Wednesday morning.
Two definite changes from last month’s tournament will be the absence of the team’s all-time top-scorer White, who announced her retirement from football on Monday, and midfielder Scott who followed suit 24 hours later.
White, 33, has called time on her career after scoring 52 times in 113 appearances, one goal shy of Wayne Rooney’s overall record haul for England. Scott won 161 caps, second only to Fara Williams in Lionesses history, and scored 27 goals.
With White bowing out, there may well be a promotion to the starting line-up next month for Alessia Russo – the Manchester United forward came off the bench to replace her in each of England’s games during the Euros, and scored four times.
The other centre-forward in the Euros squad was Chelsea’s Beth England, who will hope for greater involvement after being an unused substitute through the tournament.
There could be a recall for Ebony Salmon, holder of one cap to date, won back in February 2021. The 21-year-old has been in superb form for Houston Dash, scoring eight goals in eight league games.
Another player who could return is former skipper Steph Houghton.
The centre-back, who was recovering from Achilles surgery, was part of Wiegman’s provisional 28-player squad for the Euros but failed to make the cut when it was reduced to a final 23.
Houghton was back in competitive action for the first time since January last week, playing in Manchester City’s Champions League qualifying games.
The other quartet who did not make the transition from 28 to 23 were Manchester United midfielders Lucy Staniforth and Katie Zelem, Chelsea defender Niamh Charles and goalkeeper Sandy MacIver, who has joined City.
Midfielder Jordan Nobbs, who was ruled out of the Euros by a knee injury, has been back in training with Arsenal.
Group D leaders England face second-placed Austria in Wiener Neustadt before taking on Luxembourg at Stoke’s bet365 Stadium.
A point in the clash with the Austrians will see Wiegman’s side seal qualification for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
England have won all eight of their qualifiers so far, with 68 goals scored along the way and none conceded – part of a 20-game unbeaten record under Wiegman.
They beat Austria 1-0 at the Stadium of Light last November, and it was the same scoreline when the sides met at Old Trafford in the opening game of the Euros on July 6.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1