Williamson named in England squad for April’s Euro 2025 qualifiers

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Williamson named in England squad for April’s Euro 2025 qualifiers

Leah Williamson has been named in the England squad for next month’s Euro 2025 qualifiers against Sweden and the Republic of Ireland.

Last month, the Lionesses captain was forced to withdraw from her first England squad since April 2023 after injuring her hamstring, but the Arsenal defender has since recovered to be included in the 23-player squad.

The 26-year-old, who was captain for England’s Euro 2022 triumph, missed last summer’s World Cup after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury that kept her out for nine months.

England Women’s April squad

Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Manchester United), Hannah Hampton (Chelsea), Khiara Keating (Manchester City).

Defenders: Lucy Bronze (Barcelona), Jess Carter (Chelsea), Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Esme Morgan (Manchester City), Millie Turner (Manchester United), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal).

Midfielders: Grace Clinton (Tottenham, on loan from Manchester United), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Jess Park (Manchester City), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), Ella Toone (Manchester United), Keira Walsh (Barcelona).

Forwards: Rachel Daly (Aston Villa), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Lauren James (Chelsea), Chloe Kelly (Manchester City), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Alessia Russo (Arsenal).

But Williamson’s inclusion for the start of England’s European Championship title defence raises hopes she will make her first Lionesses appearance since April 11, 2023.

England boss Sarina Wiegman said of Williamson’s inclusion: “I’m very happy. I’m looking forward to working with her again.

“She [Williamson] recovered really well and it didn’t take too long and now she’s getting into a rhythm.

“She hasn’t played that many games yet but she’s getting there and she needs the minutes now.”

Manchester United defender Millie Turner, who replaced Williamson in last month’s squad, keeps her place but team-mate Maya Le Tissier misses out.

Chelsea centre-back Millie Bright, who captained England at the World Cup in Williamson’s absence, misses out on the squad due to injury.

Bright captained England to the World Cup final, where they lost to Spain

Image: Chelsea defender Millie Bright remains out injured

Wiegman said of Bright’s absence: “We’re a little disappointed. We hoped it would be quicker but she’s taking her time and wants to do the right thing to avoid setbacks.

“She needs to do more work in the gym to get stronger and that takes time. Emma Hayes (Chelsea boss) said she should be back after the international break, but she’s [Bright’s] doing responsible things.”

But Bright’s Chelsea team-mate Fran Kirby has made a return to the squad having missed the games in February after pulling up in the pre-Austria warm-up with a knee problem.

Tottenham midfielder Grace Clinton, who is on loan from Manchester United, retains her place after scoring on her international debut against Austria last month.

Grace Clinton

Image: Tottenham’s Grace Clinton has been named in the 23-player squad

Sarina Wiegman’s side face Sweden in their opening qualifier on April 5 at Wembley, the scene of their famous Euro 2022 final victory, before playing the Republic of Ireland at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium four days later on April 9.

England will also face France in their League A qualifying group, with matches taking place from April to July.

The winners and runners-up from the four League A groups will qualify automatically for the Euros finals, joining a Switzerland side already assured to be there as hosts.

The third and fourth-placed teams will enter the play-offs, along with teams finishing in the top three in each of the four League B groups.

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