Nikita Parris snubbed by Sarina Wiegman in latest Lionesses squad announcement

Sarina Wiegman has announced the Lionesses squad that will travel to Algeciras for a training camp later this month.

With England’s beloved side having failed to qualify for the final stages of the UEFA Women’s Nations League, two friendly fixtures have been arranged. The Lionesses will meet Austria on Friday 23rd, before facing Italy on Tuesday 27th.

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Mary Earps is widely expected to retain her spot as Wiegman’s first choice goalkeeper, but given the friendly nature of these matches, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Hannah Hampton or Khiara Keating earn minutes – especially given the latter’s recent performances.

Leah Williamson has returned to Sarina Wiegman’s squad, having overcome a lengthy rehabilitation period following her ACL injury sustained last year. Should she enter the pitch, it will mark the Arsenal defender’s first England appearance since a 0-2 loss to Australia at the Gtech Community Stadium last April.

Williamson forms part of a remarkably strong defensive unit, accompanied by Arsenal colleague Lotte Wubben-Moy and a plethora of other Barclays Women’s Super League talents including Chelsea’s Jess Carter and Niamh Charles.

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Manchester City’s Esme Morgan and Alex Greenwood also make the cut, accompanied by Manchester United’s Maya Le Tissier. Her Red Devils teammate Millie Turner misses out, while Barcelona’s Lucy Bronze retains her spot as expected.

The midfield has seen an introduction of youth talent, with Tottenham’s Grace Clinton and Manchester City’s Jess Park both named in Wiegman’s travelling squad.

Both players have excelled for their respective clubs this season, with Clinton relishing the heightened opportunities that come with increased game time under Robert Vilahamn.

The duo are joined in the centre of the park by four England stalwarts: Chelsea’s Fran Kirby, Barcelona’s Keira Walsh, Bayern Munich’s Georgia Stanway and Manchester United’s Ella Toone.

But it is the selection of forwards that has drawn the most criticism, as there is no space for Manchester United’s Nikita Parris – despite her impressive goalscoring record of 15 goals in 18 club appearances this season.

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Perhaps controversially, Aston Villa’s Rachel Daly retains her position in the squad despite a shaky start to the season from Carla Ward’s side. The forward was recently given a three-match ban for violent conduct after a retrospective FA investigation found she had elbowed Bristol City captain Megan Connolly.

Daly is joined by a fierce Manchester City duo of Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly, as well as Arsenal’s Alessia Russo and Beth Mead.

Chelsea’s Lauren James is also included, with Wiegman insisting the forward is fit and healthy. Having already bagged 12 goals in the Barclays Women’s Super League this season, the forward was sent home by Emma Hayes ahead of their Adobe Women’s FA Cup tie against Crystal Palace after reporting ill.

Wiegman’s Lionesses have nothing to play for other than pride when they head to Algeciras later this month – and so fans are keen to see the likes of Clinton and Park given an opportunity to prove their worth.

The Lionesses face Austria at 19:45 UK on February 23, before meeting Italy four days later at 17:00 UK. Both matches will be held at the Estadio Nuevo Mirador in Algeciras.