Alnwick’s Lucy Bronze has been called up for the England Women’s squad for its first qualifying match in the 2017 European Championships.
After her star performances in this year’s World Cup in Canada, helping England to a bronze medal, it would been more of a shock if coach Mark Sampson had left the Manchester City full-back out of his plans.
Last month, Bronze was named in the Fifa Women’s World Cup All-Star Squad for her heroics at the tournament, which included scoring two crucial goals. She fired in a screamer against Norway in the last-16 before netting in the quarter-final win over hosts Canada.
Sampson believes England can win the Euro 2017 tournament in the Netherlands. He told the BBC’s Women’s Football Show: “The World Cup isn’t the end; it was the start of the journey. Over the next couple of years we’ve got a great opportunity of making this team better.
“Our ambition come June 2017 will be to go to Holland and look to win the tournament.”
If Sampson’s team lift the tophy, it would create history – the Lionesses have never won a European Championship.
The manager has made seven changes from the World Cup squad for their opening Euro match in Estonia on September 21 (7.45pm BST kick-off).
Bronze is one of seven Manchester City players in the England squad, including a first cap for midfielder Isobel Christiansen, 23, who scored the winning goal against Sunderland Ladies on Sunday to send City second in Women’s Super League One
Fellow City defender Demi Stokes is included, but there is no place for Sunderland striker Beth Mead, the current top scorer in the league with 11 goals.
In midfield, Fara Williams and Jade Moore are injured, while veterans Karen Carney and Katie Chapman are left out.
Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Siobhan Chamberlain (Notts County), Carly Telford (Notts County)
Defenders: Laura Bassett (Notts County), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Gilly Flaherty (Chelsea), Alex Greenwood (Notts County), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Claire Rafferty (Chelsea), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Casey Stoney (Arsenal), Amy Turner (Notts County), Demi Stokes (Manchester City)
Midfielders: Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City), Jo Potter (Birmingham City), Jill Scott (Manchester City)
Forwards: Eniola Aluko (Chelsea), Danielle Carter (Arsenal), Jess Clarke (Notts County), Gemma Davison (Chelsea), Toni Duggan (Manchester City), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Ellen White (Notts County)