Two new faces in Gemma Grainger's first Wales squad

Ceri Holland
Ceri Holland, who was born in Yorkshire, was added to Wales' last training camp for the final couple of days. She has represented Wales at under-19 level.
International friendlies: Wales v Canada
Venue: Leckwith Stadium, Cardiff Date: Fri, 9 April Kick-off: 18:00 BST
Coverage: Available to watch on BBC Sport website, iPlayer and Cymru Fyw, with full commentary on Radio Wales.

New Wales manager Gemma Grainger has included two new faces in her squad for friendlies with Canada and Denmark.

Grainger, who selected the squad two days after starting her role, had said she wanted to widen the pool of players available for Wales selection.

Liverpool midfielder Ceri Holland, 23, is included after returning from Kansas where she attended university.

Cardiff-born Bethan Roberts, 18, who last played for Wales' under-16 team, is also called up for the first time.

Goalkeepers Olivia Clark and Poppy Soper and Tottenham's Esther Morgan, who is now playing regularly in the Women's Super League, are other uncapped players who will hope for a debut under Grainger.

Manchester United's Hayley Ladd was named in the original squad but withdrew injured. She was replaced by Chloe Williams.

Grainger told BBC Sport Wales she was open to adding players to her squad to boost depth as she targets a first major finals appearance.

Gemma Grainger: Wales aiming to 'learn quickly' under new manager

Wales will host Canada at Leckwith Stadium, Cardiff, on Friday, 9 April (18:00 BST) in Grainger's first match as national team manager.

The 38-year-old's second game in charge will come just four days later when Wales host Denmark in another friendly at Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday, 13 April (19:15 BST).

All Wales' big name players have made themselves available to their new manager, who succeeded Jayne Ludlow after she left her role by mutual consent in January.

That means Jessica Fishlock, Sophie Ingle, Angharad James, Josie Green, Helen Ward and Natasha Harding are all included in the 26-player squad.

Attacker Kayleigh Green, who has 49 international caps, is also in the squad and will hope to make her 50th appearance for Wales.

Bristol City winger Megan Wynne remains sidelined after knee surgery, while Grainger will be assisted by the coaching staff from the February camp, including Loren Dykes and Matthew Jones.

Grainger says she expects to name her permanent backroom staff after the friendly matches and says she leaned on the knowledge of her current staff, including former Wales defender Dykes.

"With the squad needing submitting only two days into the job, it was really important for me to utilize the existing staff from the February camp to select the squad," she said.

"We want to play the higher ranked nations and there's no better test as we look to prepare for the World Cup qualifying campaign and the next four years.

"To get asked to name a squad after two days is a big ask, so it was key for me to utilise the intelligence from the current coaching staff.

"It's games against two top sides and we are excited for the challenge."

The draw for World Cup qualification takes place on Friday, 30 April.

Wales squad: Laura O'Sullivan, Olivia Clark, Poppy Soper, Rhiannon Roberts, Gemma Evans, Maria Francis-Jones, Charlie Estcourt, Josie Green, Elise Hughes, Anna Filbey, Sophie Ingle, Angharad James, Jess Fishlock, Carrie Jones, Kayleigh Green, Natasha Harding, Rachel Rowe, Helen Ward, Chloe Williams, Lily Woodham, Georgia Walters, Ffion Morgan, Esther Morgan, Ceri Holland, Bethan Roberts, Kylie Nolan

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