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Leah Williamson returns to England squad for first time since ACL injury

Leah Williamson has returned to the England squad for the first time since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury (ACL) after being selected by Sarina Wiegman for February’s international friendlies.

Williamson captained England to their Euro 2022 triumph but missed the 2023 World Cup after sustaining an ACL injury in April. She returned to the Arsenal squad in January and made her first Women’s Super League start during this month’s defeat to West Ham United.

Millie Bright, who captained the side in Williamson’s absence at the World Cup, continues to miss out having not featured since November due to a knee injury.

Manchester United midfielder Katie Zelem drops out of Wiegman’s 23-player squad, while Manchester City’s Jess Park has been recalled.

Nikita Parris’ 15 goals in 18 appearances in all competitions this season are not enough to earn her a recall. The Manchester United forward was part of England’s Euro 2022-winning squad but lost her place in the build-up to last summer’s World Cup.

England face Italy and Austria in a pair of international friendlies in February as part of a warm weather training camp in Spain.

The Lionesses will be joined by Emma Coates’ Under-23 squad for the camp and will play the two fixtures at Estadio Nuevo Mirador in Algeciras, Cadiz.

Wiegman’s side are not in Nations League action in February having failed to qualify for the competition’s semi-finals.

They will play Austria, the side they opened their Euro 2022 campaign against, on Friday February 23, before facing Italy on Tuesday February 27.

England Women February squad

Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Manchester United), Hannah Hampton (Chelsea), Khiara Keating (Manchester City)

Defenders: Lucy Bronze (Barcelona), Jess Carter (Chelsea), Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Maya Le Tissier (Manchester United),  Esme Morgan (Manchester City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Grace Clinton (Tottenham Hotspur, loan from Manchester United), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Jess Park (Manchester City), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), Ella Toone (Manchester United), Keira Walsh (Barcelona)

Forwards: Rachel Daly (Aston Villa), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Lauren James (Chelsea), Chloe Kelly (Manchester City), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Alessia Russo (Arsenal)

(Photo by Catherine Ivill – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

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