England Women’s squad: Manchester United’s Alessia Russo returns to face Northern Ireland and Latvia

Manchester United forward Alessia Russo has been included in the England Women squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Northern Ireland and Latvia later this month.

Russo, who made her sole appearance for the Lionesses to date in March 2020, returns to the squad as part of a 24-player group selected by Sarina Wiegman.

United captain Katie Zelem and Aston Villa goalkeeper Hannah Hampton are the two uncapped players in the squad.

While the fit-again Keira Walsh is back after missing last month’s 8-0 win over North Macedonia and 10-0 victory against Luxembourg, there is no place in the squad for Jordan Nobbs, who has also recovered from an injury.

England were skippered for the two games in September by Leah Williamson in the absence of the injured Steph Houghton who remains sidelined along with the likes of Lucy Bronze and Ellie Roebuck.

England face Northern Ireland at Wembley – their first competitive match at the stadium – on October 23 before taking on Latvia away three days later.

Wiegman said: “After a wonderful start to our World Cup qualifying campaign last month, we are incredibly excited to play our first competitive fixture at Wembley Stadium.

Sarina Wiegman’s side have made a flying start to World Cup qualification (John Walton/PA)

(PA Wire)

“The incredible atmosphere our supporters generated at St Mary’s Stadium for our match against North Macedonia gave our players and staff a tremendous lift, so the prospect of playing in front of thousands of fans at our national stadium later this month will be a special moment.

“Northern Ireland have made strong progress in recent years, qualifying earlier this year for the 2022 home Uefa Women’s Euros. On top of that, their recent 4-0 victory over Latvia shows the strength of their team and their determination to qualify for the World Cup.

“I can’t wait to get back together with our squad this weekend. Every player showed great ability and the collective positivity and ambition within the group was fantastic to see.

“We do still have one or two injuries to key players to contend with, but the depth in our squad is very strong. We hope to give our supporters more reasons to celebrate this month as we continue our progress towards qualification.”

Full squad

Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Man United), Hannah Hampton (Aston Villa), Sandy MacIver (Everton).

Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Jessica Carter (Chelsea), Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Alex Greenwood (Man City), Demi Stokes (Man City), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal).

Midfielders: Jill Scott (Man City), Lucy Staniforth (Man United), Georgia Stanway (Man City), Keira Walsh (Man City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Katie Zelem (Man United).

Forwards: Bethany England (Chelsea), Lauren Hemp (Man City), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Nikita Parris (Arsenal), Alessia Russo (Man United), Ella Toone (Man United), Ellen White (Man City).

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