Toni Duggan and Jodie Taylor have been left out of the England squad despite the fact manager Phil Neville has named an extended 28-player group for the forthcoming friendly against Germany.
The absence of Duggan is a surprise and the Atletico Madrid forward will be hugely disappointed to have been snubbed, despite assurances from Neville that she still has a future with the national team
Duggan also struggled for game time at the SheBelieves Cup back in March and there are a number of younger players coming through in her position who Neville thinks highly of.
“It was really difficult to leave her out,” said Neville. “She is one of the players I have picked more than any other, certainly in the top three or four players that I’ve selected most in the starting XI.
“She’s a really top player. She has probably suffered because the Spanish league has started later and she has only had two games. She played against Tenerife on Sunday and did really well but ultimately, because of the late start, she is a little but behind everyone else in terms of games played and the chances to impress.
“And, in those positions in the wide areas where Toni plays we have got some fantastic players who are all playing really well. That area is probably where we are at our strongest anywhere on the pitch.”
Duggan, 29, can at least take comfort from the fact midfielder Izzy Christiansen has forced her way back into the squad having not played for England since March 2019.
“She did impress me [at the last training camp].” Neville explained. “She got back into the environment, she’s come back from injury and the one thing we have said to Izzy is, if she gets consistency in terms of her fitness, her performances will come.
“I watched against Chelsea and against Birmingham and I thought she was fantastic in the FA Cup. We’ve watched her in every game, and she is getting better and better. When she is on top of her game she is up there with the best midfielders in England.”
Telegraph Sport can also reveal that Neville intends to stage a full 11 vs 11 game behind closed doors towards the end of the training camp at St George’s Park, which worked well during the last camp as it put players competing for the same positions on opposite sides. That is also one of the reasons the squad is such a large one.
The Lionesses will meet up at England’s St. George’s Park base on Sunday 18th October, with an in-house training game scheduled for Friday 23rd before the squad travels to Germany.
Youngsters Millie Turner, Esme Morgan, Niamh Charles and Ella Toone receive their second senior call-up having impressed Neville and his coaching team during last month’s training camp in Burton. Nikita Parris also rejoins her England teammates after missing September’s camp due to Covid travel restrictions following her return from France.
“It’s exciting to be facing top-class opposition again after such a long lay-off since the SheBelieves Cup earlier this year. Germany are currently ranked second in the world so there’s no doubt it will be a tough test for us, but a vital one, as we measure our progress against one of the best teams in the world.
“It will give us a clear idea of where we’re at in terms of our squad depth and development as we prepare for the home UEFA EURO in 2022. We want to compete for the highest honours in world football and that means challenging ourselves against the very strongest opposition.
“I was impressed with the performances of a number of younger players who joined our senior squad last month and I look forward to seeing their further integration and development during this camp. This is an exciting period for England players of all ages and experience to stake their claim for a place in the squad as we build towards upcoming major tournaments.”
Following the trip to Germany, England Women will round the year off with a match against Norway at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane on Tuesday 1 December.