Lionesses Head Coach, Sarina Wiegman, has named her final squad for 2023 to face the Netherlands and Scotland in the Nations League. 

With an ever growing pool of talent rising through the ranks in the Women's Super League, and a number of other reputable leagues, there's even more competition for places in Wiegman's Lionesses.

Here are five players who are unlucky to miss out on the final squad of the year and who could potentially feature in an England shirt in the future. 

20-year-old Aggie Beever-Jones has been one of the WSL's brightest young prospects this season. Opting to remain with her parent club, Chelsea, instead of going on loan, Beever-Jones made a bold choice to stay at such a competitive club.

Having spent loan spells with Bristol City and Everton since 2021, the young forward has had a modest few seasons. However, despite Chelsea's star-studded attack including Sam Kerr and Lauren James, Beever-Jones has pushed for a starting place. 

Seizing her opportunities, Beever-Jones has scored five goals in six matches for the Blues - two more than Aussie star Sam Kerr. 

After impressing in a Chelsea shirt this season, there were calls for Beever-Jones to get a senior call up by Sarina Wiegman. Currently, the striker is a staple part of the England U23s squad, playing particularly well against Portugal in October. 

While she may have not entered the senior camp yet, Beever-Jones in certainly on Wiegman's radar. "She’s in our conversations. I think it’s a little bit too early. We see good things" Wiegman said.

"She’s in the under-23s and it’s good she can get the minutes there and keep developing. I hope she keeps improving & gives us headaches with our selection."

With England forwards Fran Kirby and Beth Mead returning from injury, previous squad members Katie Robinson and Jess Park have been pushed out of selection, making it even more understandable that Beever-Jones has not quite found a space yet.

2023 may not have been Beever-Jones' year to enter senior international football but there is no doubt that she will thrive in an England shirt in the coming years. 

Liverpool defender, Gemma Bonner, is a player who should also be on Wiegman's radar. Having previously made 11 appearances for the Lionesses, Bonner hasn't had a look in since 2019 when she replaced Millie Bright in the SheBelieves Cup Squad.  

Recently becoming Liverpool's all time leading appearance maker in the professional era, Bonner is in her second stint with the club, having rejoined at the start of 2023. 

Bonner's biggest barrier is age. At 32 years old, young defenders such as Lotte Wubben-Moy, Niamh Charles, Maya Le Tissier and Esme Morgan are bound to get a call up before her purely because of age. 

Sarina Wiegman, however, recalled 32-year-old Laura Coombs to the 2023 Arnold Clark Cup Squad and eventually the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup squad, offering some hope for more experienced WSL players.

When England skipper, Leah Williamson, returns  following rehabilitation from her ACL injury, England's already busy back line will have even more depth, making an international come back even less likely for Bonner. 

Arguably, the December camp would have been the most sensible time to bring Bonner into the squad. With Williamson absent and temporary captain Millie Bright also ruled out, the Lionesses will lack leadership and experience. 

Bonner, having played in both the US and England for top sides such as Manchester City and Chelsea, will not only be accustomed to high pressure environments but also the qualities of good leadership. 

Furthermore, Bonner captained her Liverpool side to the league title in 2013 and 2014, demonstrating her leadership abilities. Of course, this does not mean Weigman should call her up and make her captain but, having leaders and experience, particularly among defenders, is a recipe for success and something perhaps that should have been considered. 

To add to Bonner's resume, she is a goal scoring threat, bagging her returning goal in the last round of the WSL. Statistically, Bonner is also on a par with England's defence. Bonner has a pass success percentage of 79.1%, higher than Alex Greenwood's 76.8% and Jess Carter's 78.6%.

It is unlikely that Gemma Bonner will be making an England return but her stats show that she can compete with England's stars, her age is just the interrupting factor. 

Moving from an underwhelming West Ham side  at the start of this season, Grace Fisk has quickly slotted into Liverpool's defence. 

Opting to go state side for university, Fisk played for the Penn State Nittany Lions and the South Carolina Gamecocks while still representing England at age group level. 

During Phil Neville's era as manager, Fisk earned her first international call up for the 2020 SheBelieves Cup in the USA but did not make her debut for the Lionesses.

Fisk is in the highest band of percentile for key aspects of the game such as progressive carries, progresses passes received, blocks and tackles.

However, there are elements of Fisk's game which must improve. For example, her pass completion, currently stands at 78.2%. Compare this to a Lionesses fringe player, Millie Turner who stands at 91.4%, then it is clear that there is still work to be done.

One of the greatest challenges for Fisk, similar to many trying to break into the England squad, is competition for places. England are stacked with defenders, particularly central defence options. With Millie Bright and Leah Williamson as the usual first choice pairing, the versatile Jess Carter, Millie Turner and Lotte Wubben-Moy will be waiting on the bench. 

It would be surprising if Fisk never earned an England cap but it seems that it may still be a few years down the line. Fisk is performing well at Liverpool and providing this continues, Wiegman will not be able to ignore her. 

25-year-old Mayumi Pacheco is a product of the Lionesses' youth pathway, yet to make a senior squad. The Aston Villa left-back has been a starting player for a few seasons, having played all 22 WSL matches in 2021/22 and 2022/23. 

With an impressive 80.8% pass completion, Pacheco's stats are higher than Arsenal's Noelle Maritz and comparable to Australia's Steph Catley. 

Having out grown England's age group teams, a system she excelled in, club football has been Pacheco's way of pushing for senior selection.

This was achievable last season with Aston Villa thriving and somewhat over performing. Villa's successes boosted Pacheco's profile and standing in the ranks due to the increased amount of clean sheets and positive results. 

However, currently 10th in the table and only recording two wins, the Villans are having a poor season, a factor which perhaps is tarnishing Pacheco's international chances. 

Time is on Pacheco's side and at 25 years old, she has plenty of seasons to prove herself before an England call up is out of the question.

Wiegman has demonstrated over the last year that team performances do not define international selections with Brighton's Katie Robinson and Tottenham Hotspur's Grace Clinton both being in contention for games. 

Of course, success in a Villa shirt will boost Pacheco's hopes but, she is surely on selectors' radars due to her undeniable talent and skill. 

Boasting 75 international caps for England and Great Britain, Nikita Parris was once an essential part of England's attack. During Phil Neville's tenure as England Head Coach, Parris featured in most international camps and became a household name, however, post-Euro 2022, she fell out of favour with selectors. 

Naturally, different managers favour different players and styles of play and with the rise of Chloe Kelly, Beth Mead, Alessia Russo and Lauren Hemp, fitting Parris in became more challenging.

Timing was Parris' enemy too as she had spent the 2021/22 season at Arsenal, a team which clearly did not suit her and where she underperformed. Her dip in form, combined with more talent rising in her position lead to Wiegman lacking interest in the once inevitable striker. 

Following her move to Manchester United at the start of the 2022/23 season, Parris has turned a corner. Although her contributions last year were not always game changing, the 29-year-old has found rhythm and already has four goals and one assist to her name this season. 

Sarina is definitely watching, evident by the late call up of Manchester United's Millie Turner for this most recent camp, so why is Parris not back for the Lionesses? 

Competition for places will always be a factor but, given Parris recent form, it seems strange not to include her in the squad. Perhaps Wiegman thinks she has seen what she wants from Parris but if England fail to score many goals over the international break, eyes could turn to the United striker. 

  • Conclusions

Too many options is a good problem for Sarina Wiegman to have. She's stated that she wants individuals to cause her selection headaches and there are a wealth of players aiming to cause that.

The Lionesses have already endured some significant retirements and injuries over the past few years and inevitably will in the coming ones. However, within the Women's Super League, and abroad, there are game changing players ready to step in from the wings. 

About the author