Many FA WSL fans might have been questioning the lull in fixtures this month, with only four teams losing players to the Olympics fans across the country have been left frustrated with a lack of league action. However, Mark Sampson has capitalised on the opportunity to call 23 women into a week-long training camp ahead of England’s last two Euro 2017 qualifiers next month.
With regulars Carly Telford, Alex Greenwood and Jodie Taylor missing through injury Sampson had even more room to play around with the two dozen players to bring into camp. The most eyebrow-raising inclusion Sky Blue’s Leah Galton. After a storming season with the New Jersey team many were calling for Galton to be considered as fellow Harrogate-native Rachel Daly was, and Sampson was keen to oblige.
Galton is no stranger to the England set-up having played at the U17 and U19 levels as well as featuring in this years’ U23 La Manga tournament. With a healthy number of options in attack for England, especially out wide, the camp would have been a fine opportunity for Galton to fully announce herself to Sampson. When speaking to the FA website Sampson spoke of the camp as chance for Galton to show what she can do at the senior level, after impressing with the U23s.
However, Galton has already been forced to pull out of the camp with a hip injury and with limited opportunities to call players up before Euro 2017, Galton may have missed her window.
Carter in, Kirby out
The other 22 called into camp are all familiar faces to the set-up, the changes mostly enforced through injury, Arsenal’s Dan Carter is possibly the other surprise name in the line-up. Carter impressed on her debut in England’s first qualifier against Estonia, scoring a hat-trick to throw down the gauntlet and argue for her place in the squad.
However, despite the dream start, Carter has failed to earn a subsequent call-up although the striker has had a few injury problems this year, many have seen her exclusion as an oversight. Her inclusion in the squad sees Chelsea’s Fran Kirby, who has recently returned from an injury picked up in the last England camp, miss out.
As Kirby misses out, her Chelsea teammate and Blues back-up keeper, Rebecca Spencer is the unexpected third choice goalkeeper for Sampson. The England boss has been rotating Sunderland’s Rachael Laws and Reading’s Mary Earps into the side when one of his three more senior players is forced to miss out and few were expecting Spencer to be his third choice for this camp.
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), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Casey Stoney (Arsenal).
Midfielders: Izzy Christiansen (Manchester City), Jade Moore (Notts County), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jo Potter (Notts County), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Fara Williams (Arsenal).
Forwards: Karen Carney (Chelsea), Danielle Carter (Arsenal), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Gemma Davison (Chelsea), [Leah Galton (Sky Blue FC) ** withdrawn], Nikita Parris (Manchester City), Ellen White (Notts County).