Lionesses: Phil Neville names four debutants in squad for friendlies

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Neville 'working hard to find extra 5%'

Lionesses coach Phil Neville has named his 24-strong squad for England women's upcoming friendlies against Belgium and Norway.

Neville has selected 19 players who featured in the Women's World Cup, as well as handing call-ups to four debutants.

Manchester City midfielder Jill Scott has been rested after her World Cup campaign.

World Cup team-mates Ellen White and Karen Bardsley miss out through injury.

Chelsea's Bethany England, 25, and Manchester City's Aoife Mannion, 23, have been handed their first senior call-ups, alongside two of the Young Lionesses' bronze medal-winning Under-20 World Cup squad, 21-year-old Sandy MacIver and 20-year-old Anna Patten.

The Lionesses, who reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in France where they lost to eventual winners the United States, face Belgium in Leuven on 29 August, before travelling to Bergen to take on their World Cup quarter-final opponents Norway on 3 September.

Asked about White and Bardsley's injuries, Neville told BBC Sport he was a "bit concerned".

"They are probably going to have a period of time on the sidelines," he said.

"They won't be in the first one or two camps, the second one is too close. They are big players for us, their performances in the summer were outstanding, so we'll miss them and their experience for the next two or three camps.

"Injuries are part of football, they've just got to get back as quickly as they possibly can."

The Lionesses were without midfielders Izzy Christiansen and Jordan Nobbs at the World Cup, with both sidelined for several months through injury.

Arsenal's Nobbs ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament in November but has returned to training, while Christiansen broke her leg and damaged ankle ligaments in March.

"They are both close [to returning] but both need to play football," he said. "Izzy hasn't played a competitive 90-minute game since Japan, she needs match fitness.

"Jordan had nine months out, we're not going to rush back either of them for friendlies. We've got to make sure they're going to be fit to play for England for the next 10 years, they're really important players for us."

Full squad

Goalkeepers: Mary Earps, Sandy MacIver, Ellie Roebuck, Carly Telford

Defenders: Millie Bright, Rachel Daly, Alex Greenwood, Steph Houghton, Aoife Mannion, Abbie McManus, Anna Patten, Demi Stokes, Leah Williamson

Midfielders: Lucy Bronze, Jade Moore, Lucy Staniforth, Georgia Stanway, Keira Walsh

Forwards: Toni Duggan, Bethany England, Fran Kirby, Beth Mead, Nikita Parris, Jodie Taylor

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