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Key Chelsea defender returns to England squad for Euro 2025 qualifiers

Key Chelsea defender returns to England squad for Euro 2025 qualifiers
© Reuters
England manager Sarina Wiegman confirms a 28-player squad for this summer's Euro 2025 qualifiers, including a recall for key Chelsea defender Millie Bright.

England Women's head coach Sarina Wiegman has confirmed a 28-strong squad for the Lionesses' upcoming Euro 2025 qualifiers against France, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland.

The reigning continental champions have already accrued four points from an available six in their section, drawing 1-1 with Sweden in their opening battle before a 2-0 triumph over the Republic of Ireland.

Sitting second in League A Group 3 behind France, England face a pivotal double-header with Les Bleus this summer, firstly meeting at St James' Park on May 31 before a trip to Saint-Etienne's Stade Geoffroy-Guichard four days later.

The Lionesses will then play their final home match of qualifying against Ireland at Carrow Road on July 12, before closing out their preliminary campaign against Sweden in Gothenburg on July 16.

Wiegman's selection comprises 24 players with another four on standby, and the headline news from Tuesday's announcement is the return of Chelsea Women's defender Millie Bright following her recovery from a knee injury.

The 30-year-old has not played for her nation since their run to the 2023 World Cup final and spent over five months on the sidelines, but she made her comeback for Emma Hayes's side at the end of April and has come through two starts unscathed this month.

Maiden call-up for Agnes Beever-Jones

In addition, Bright's 20-year-old Chelsea teammate Agnes Beever-Jones has earned a first-ever senior call-up in recognition of her brilliant season at domestic level, having notched 11 goals in 15 Women's Super League appearances.

Manchester United's Maya Le Tissier, Liverpool's Missy Bo Kearns, Southampton's Kayla Rendell and Tottenham Hotspur's Jess Naz represent the quartet of players on the Lionesses' standby list.

"After an intense season, we wanted to give the players clarity and help them to prepare for the Fifa windows in the best possible way, with the balance of performance and welfare as a priority," Wiegman told englandfootball.com.

"We have had good conversations with the clubs, and we are grateful for their cooperation and support in helping the players to be fresh, fit and ready for two international matches on the highest level.

"Naming a player group of 28 provides us with different options across the four fixtures and is an opportunity for some new faces to impress and build new connections. We're really excited to get going again.

"The group is finely balanced and we know that every game is going to be tight and we'll need to be at our best. France are an opposition we haven't yet faced together so I'm looking forward to that challenge of playing one of the best teams in the world."

The top two nations in England's Euros qualifying group will directly advance to the final tournament, while the third and fourth-placed teams will have another shot at making it through via the playoffs.

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