With England already having qualified for Euro 2017, the home game against Estonia and away tie to second-placed Belgium are a formality. But with an injury-hit squad, Mark Sampson has used the opportunity to shuffle players around, 21 of the 23 called into last month’s training camp.
With Ellen White another player out due to serious injury, she joins the likes of Jodie Taylor and Fran Kirby, watching others make their bid for a spot on the plane to Holland whilst enduring her own rehab. With Carly Telford expected out for the rest of the season, Sampson has stuck with Chelsea’s deputy, Rebecca Spencer.
When called upon, the back-up 'keeper has been in superb form for the Blues and is making life even harder for Rachael Laws and Mary Earps who may well be eyeing up the third 'keeper slot.
With Alex Greenwood’s season over due to injury, Sampson will be glad fellow left-back Claire Rafferty is fighting fit – although Demi Stokes has once again been called up the Lionesses’ boss usually players the Man City defender in a more advanced role on the left.
Dan Carter has been recalled is set to earn her second cap, the Arsenal attacker somewhat left out in the cold after bursting into the senior squad with a hat trick against Estonia in the first of England’s qualifiers.
From a second cap to a first as Millie Bright earns her first senior call-up, the Chelsea midfielder the expected inclusion in the side. Having trained with the seniors several times before the Next-Gen announcement, Bright was a player many were expecting to be promoted up.
In direct completion with her Chelsea captain, Katie Chapman, Bright has caught the eye over the last two seasons with strength in midfield, no-nonsense to shield the back-line. Although having spent much of this year making up a back-three, Bright is much more at home just in front of the defence, good in the air and smart on the ground to stop the supply lines.
With time fast running out for players to stake their claim for a spot on the plane to the Netherlands and an increase in the emergence of English talent, Sampson will be left with selection headaches in every position. A strong performance in the last two qualifiers may just be enough to cement players in Sampson’s estimation and secure a place in the squad for the Euro finals.
Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool), Rebecca Spencer (Chelsea).
Defenders: Laura Bassett (Notts County), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Gilly Flaherty (Chelsea), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Claire Rafferty (Chelsea), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Casey Stoney (Arsenal).
Midfielders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City), Jade Moore (Notts County), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jo Potter (Notts County), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Fara Williams (Arsenal).
Attackers: Karen Carney (Chelsea), Danielle Carter (Arsenal), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Gemma Davison (Chelsea), Nikita Parris (Manchester City).
England will take on Estonia at Meadow Lane, Nottingham on Thursday 15 September, 7.05pm before wrapping up the qualifying stages at Den Dreef, Leuven on Tuesday 20 September, 7pm CET