England boss Sarina Wiegman expects Beth Mead to miss the World Cup

England boss Sarina Wiegman expects Beth Mead to miss the World Cup

England boss Sarina Wiegman expects Beth Mead to miss this summer’s World Cup, saying that unless a “miracle happens” she will not be in her plans.

Mead, who claimed the Golden Boot and player-of-the-tournament award when the Lionesses won the Euros last summer, has been sidelined by an ACL injury sustained in November.

Wiegman on Tuesday named a 25-player squad for next month’s Finalissima against Brazil and friendly with Australia, the last camp before England begin their final preparations ahead of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand that starts on July 20.

And regarding absent Arsenal winger Mead, she told a press conference: “I had a conversation with her, she’s doing well, she’s in her rehab, she’s doing good, but the World Cup is actually too early.

“So what we said is she’s not in our plans now, just really take the time to get back well.

“If a miracle happens and she goes so fast, then we will reconsider it – but at this moment I don’t expect that.”

Aston Villa goalkeeper Hannah Hampton is among three players who were not involved in February’s Arnold Clark Cup success that have been recalled, along with Manchester City’s Esme Morgan and uncapped fellow defender Lucy Parker, of West Ham.

Hampton returns for the first time since the Euros, with Wiegman saying the twice-capped 22-year-old had been selected with “personal issues” resolved and in fine form.

Wiegman said: “As I said over all the other camps, she needed to sort out some personal issues. She’s done that. She has shown great performances, she has shown consistency, so I thought this is the moment to bring her in.”

Injured keeper Emily Ramsey, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Katie Zelem and Ebony Salmon drop out, and there is still no place for Bethany England – who has scored six goals since joining Tottenham from Chelsea in January – while Nikita Parris also misses out again.

The versatile Rachel Daly, scorer of 13 Women’s Super League goals for Villa this term, is listed among the forwards, and Wiegman said: “For this camp she’s selected for forward, we want to give that another try for now.

“I chose to put less centre-forwards in. I do see Ebony Salmon and Bethany England as centre-forward, but the competition in that position is so high.”

Millie Bright is included despite missing Chelsea’s last game through injury, but team-mate Fran Kirby remains absent with a knee issue.

Wiegman said of Bright that she was hopeful “she can progress this week and come in”, and on Kirby’s fitness, she said: “Of course I’m concerned because now she’s been out for a while and it doesn’t look that she’ll be back in a really short time.

“But I want to keep this opportunity open. Hopefully she gets fit, she gets on the pitch again, and then you need to show performance and fitness, and that’s what we need. It’s a little concern, but also I don’t think too much. We just see how she progresses.”

Chelsea’s Fran Kirby leaves the field after picking up an injury (Zac Goodwin/PA)
Chelsea’s Fran Kirby has been out with a knee injury (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Wiegman also said “the door is not closed” for England skipper Steph Houghton, who through a combination of injury and selection decisions has not played for her country since the Dutchwoman took charge in September 2021.

When Wiegman, whose side face Brazil at Wembley a week on Thursday and then Australia at Brentford’s Gtech Community Stadium five days later, was asked if players not in this squad were unlikely to be going to the World Cup, she said: “We wouldn’t expect much change, but you don’t know what happens – time goes fast, but there’s still (some) weeks to go.”