Phil Neville appelle Lauren Hemp, âgée de 19 ans, pour un match amical contre l'Angletnovembre 24, 2019
Fran Kirby has been left out of the England squad for the Germany and Czech Republic friendlies, making way for Lauren Hemp. The 19-year-old is one of the few young players to be selected by England manager Phil Neville, who says there is a gulf between the emerging players and the likes of Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze.
Neville has named a 21-strong squad for the match against Germany at Wembley on Nov 9 and the one in the Czech Republic three days later. The England women’s team will go from a sellout crowd at a 90,000-seater Wembley Stadium, hoping to break the women’s all-time attendance record for a home game, to Ceske Budejovice, a ground that holds just 6,681 people.
Of the 21 selected, 17 were part of the squad that reached the semi-finals of the women’s World Cup in France last summer. Familiar faces from the World Cup include Toni Duggan and Millie Bright, who are both back in the squad after missing the last friendlies to recover from injury.
Kirby will not be joining her World Cup team-mates as Neville said she lacked the fitness and the confidence. “She has not played 90 minutes yet this season,” said Neville. “If you think of the magnitude of the game next week against Germany, you need to be at a certain level in terms of your physicality, confidence and belief and Fran knows that she’s got to get back to that level in terms of confidence in her own body.”
Neville’s decision comes after Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said England and Chelsea must take care of her. “She has made her way back from really, really critical injuries. She has, effectively, four kneecaps.” said Hayes. “I think it’s important to protect her. I have a responsibility to do that and England have a responsibility to do that.”
Kirby has given way to the Manchester City forward Hemp, who made her senior debut in England’s last friendly against Portugal as a late call-up after Jill Scott pulled out with an ankle injury.
Neville chose not to select some of the other young talent emerging in the Women’s Super League (WSL) such as Manchester United’s Leah Galton and Everton’s 21-year-old Chloe Kelly, September’s player of the month who has scored four goals in six games this season.
Neville has to think about streamlining his squad before selecting 18 players for the Olympics from Great Britain. He says young players still have a lot of work to do to compete for a place in the team.
“What I would say is the level of the WSL and the competition level at England is totally different, 10-15% more,” said Neville. “Those younger players that are coming through, some of them have got a lot of work to do. They’ve got to become better professionals, become a Houghton, a Bronze, a White. That level – Mead has done it. I have not been shy in telling them the standard.”
Ellen White and Georgia Stanway, who are both still recovering from injury, will train with the group but Neville will assess their fitness before deciding whether they are ready to be recalled to the squad. Manchester City’s Aoife Mannion misses out on selection after damaging her anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee two weeks ago.