Manchester City's England stars fit for league return - Nick Cushing

By Jo CurrieBBC Sport
Steph Houghton
Captain Steph Houghton was one of five Manchester City players in England's World Cup squad

The five Manchester City players who represented England at the Women's World Cup have returned to the club and are fit to play in Sunday's match with Birmingham, says manager Nick Cushing.

Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Toni Duggan, Steph Houghton and Jill Scott all featured during the tournament.

They returned to England on Monday after the side came third in Canada.

"We brought them in to assess whether they were ready to train and all of them trained fully," said Cushing.

He told BBC Sport: "They're fine. They've got a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of energy due to what happened at the World Cup and how successful they were."

Sunday's game is City's first match in Women's Super League One for nine weeks following the international break.

Cushing said the players were suffering from "a little bit of jet lag", but added that City had worked alongside England's medical team to ensure they returned to the club in the best possible condition.

Karen Bardsley
Manchester City goalkeeper Karen Bardsley started all seven of England's World Cup matches

"They're in good shape and all five of them are up for selection," he said. "We'll train on Friday again and we'll have a look at the best way we feel we can put a team out to win the game.

"All five of them potentially could play, but without selecting the team I couldn't confirm that."

USA Under-23 midfielder Daphne Corboz could make her Manchester City debut against Birmingham after signing for the club this week.

"She's fitted within the squad really well and hit the ground running," said Cushing. "We're excited to add Daphne and hopefully she can get some minutes on Sunday."

Sixth-placed City were linked with a move for striker Fran Kirby, but Cushing said they chose not to pursue the player, who eventually left Reading to sign for WSL 1 leaders Chelsea.

"Fran is a very, very good player and somebody that, once we knew was moving, we made an enquiry about," said Cushing.

"We were interested in finding out the situation with Fran but decided it wasn't something we'd like to move forward with, because we're happy with the squad we've got."

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