Women’s international friendlies: England’s Chloe Kelly and Fran Kirby return to squad

Chloe Kelly and Fran Kirby have returned to England’s squad to face world champions United States and Czech Republic in international friendlies next month.

The pair missed England’s September World Cup qualifiers through injury.

West Ham defender Lucy Parker and Everton midfielder Jessica Park, on loan from Manchester City, both received call ups for the first time.

There was no place for former captain Steph Houghton.

The Manchester City defender, who has made 121 appearances for England including five major tournaments, has not featured for the Lionesses since Sarina Wiegman was appointed in September 2021.

Houghton has returned to City’s starting line-up this season after recovering from an Achilles injury she picked up last January.

There were also no places for Arsenal’s Jordan Nobbs and Lotte Wubben-Moy, Chelsea’s Bethany England and Manchester United’s Nikita Parris. Wubben-Moy, England and Parris were involved in England’s European Championship triumph last summer, while Nobbs was sidelined for the tournament.

The Lionesses face the USA at a sold-out Wembley on 7 October before taking on the Czech republic in Brighton four days later.

‘Door still open’ for Houghton

Wiegman said she was “really happy” that Kelly and Kirby had returned to the squad and insisted the “door is still open” for Houghton to return.

Kirby in particular has started the Women’s Super League season in strong form, netting two goals in her first two league games for Chelsea.

“It’s good to have them back,” Wiegman said. “I think they have performed good enough. It’s good for the team.

“I’ve had a conversation with [Houghton] again and I don’t think she’s quite ready,” she added.

“We wanted to bring in some young players but it’s 10 months still to go until the World Cup. The door is still open and I will meet her again at the end of October and see where we’re at, at that moment.”

Wiegman could hand debuts to Parker and Park as well as Man City defender Esme Morgan, who was also recalled.

“We have followed Jess Park for a while,” said Wiegman. “I think she can play up front but also in midfield. Lucy Parker is very athletic. It will be good to see what they can do compared to some more experienced players.”

England squad

Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Manchester United), Sandy MacIver (Manchester City), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City)

Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Barcelona), Jess Carter (Chelsea), Rachel Daly (Aston Villa), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Esme Morgan (Manchester City), Lucy Parker (West Ham United), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Jessica Park (Everton, loan from Manchester City), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), Ella Toone (Manchester United), Keira Walsh (Manchester City), Katie Zelem (Manchester United)

Forwards: Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Lauren James (Chelsea), Chloe Kelly (Manchester City), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Alessia Russo (Manchester United), Ebony Salmon (Houston Dash)

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