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England Women's interim head coach Hege Riise has named a 24-player squad for the forthcoming April international camp which sees the Lionesses test themselves against France and Canada.
The squad will meet up at the team's St George's Park training base on Sunday 4th April before heading to Caen's Stade Michel d'Ornano to face France on Friday 9th April [kick off: 8.10pm BST]. The Lionesses then return to St George's Park and prepare to meet Canada at Stoke City's stadium on Tuesday 13th April [kick off: 7.15pm].
Having been confirmed as head coach of GB Football, Riise will use April's international camp to challenge the players against two tier-one opponents and give individuals the opportunity to impress ahead of the final decision on the Olympics shortlist, which takes place in May.
Riise has opted for a blend of youth and experience, with the rationale for selection remaining focused on players in form for their clubs, their versatility, physical robustness and ability to deliver under pressure: all key requirements in managing the demands of a major tournament.
Experienced internationals including Lucy Bronze, Ellen White, Millie Bright and Jill Scott are joined by a strong contingent of younger players who have impressed for club and country over the past 12 months. Amongst the youngsters, Riise has called up Everton goalkeeper Sandy MacIver, Arsenal defender Lotte Wubben-Moy, Chelsea winger Niamh Charles and Manchester United forward Ella Toone, together with Manchester City duo Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly.
The France and Canada fixtures could present opportunities for Niamh Charles and Millie Turner to make their senior England debuts.
April's squad sees a return to international action for goalkeepers Carly Telford and Karen Bardsley. Manchester City's Steph Houghton was not available for selection due to injury. Lyon's Nikita Parris is currently unable to join the squad as a result of a number of positive covid-19 cases reported within the club, but the situation is being regularly assessed.
Interim head coach Hege 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.
"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 EURO next year and the World Cup in 2023."
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