Steph Houghton and Nikita Parris to miss England Women’s friendlies in April

Steph Houghton and Nikita Parris do not feature in the England Women squad for the April camp

Skipper Steph Houghton and forward Nikita Parris are missing from the England Women squad for next month’s friendlies against France and Canada.

Houghton misses out due to injury – the defender has not been involved in Manchester City’s last four matches because of what has been described by the club’s boss Gareth Taylor as a problem “in the Achilles area”.

The Football Association said Parris was unable to join the squad as a result of a number of positive coronavirus cases at her club Lyon, adding that “the situation is being regularly assessed”.

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Uncapped defenders Niamh Charles and Millie Turner are among those included in Hege Riise’s 24-player squad, while experienced goalkeepers Carly Telford and Karen Bardsley return, with Hannah Hampton missing out.

England face France in Caen on April 9 before taking on Canada at Stoke’s bet365 Stadium four days later.

Interim Lionesses boss Riise, whose first match in charge was a 6-0 win over Northern Ireland in February, oversees the France and Canada games before naming a Great Britain squad for the summer’s Tokyo Olympics in May.

Riise said: “We have such an exciting group of players; many have enormous major tournament experience and others have proven themselves capable of competing for England at the highest level.

England Women interim boss Hege Riise

England Women interim boss Hege Riise (FA)

“It was very important for us to secure fixtures against top opponents in France and Canada. France are currently ranked third in the world and Canada are eighth, so this international window will really test our squad against some of the best in the world.

“This is crucial as we move closer to the Tokyo Olympics, but also important as we continue to prepare this squad to compete at the home Euros next year and the World Cup in 2023.

“I look forward to two exciting fixtures and the opportunity of challenging every player to impress us and stake their claim for a place in the shortlist for GB Football.

“I have also been watching very closely those players from the home nations who are in contention for the GB squad and I will continue to do so right up until we shortlist next month.”

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