Meet the Lionesses: the 23 players in England Women’s World Cup 2019 squadFrom FranKirby to Lucy Bronze, these are the golden girls tasked with bringing football home this summer
Circle it in your diary: the 2019 Women's World Cup kicks off on June 7 in France, when the hosts take on South Korea at the Parc des Princes in Paris.
England face their first match two days later against Scotland in Nice, before going up against Argentina (June 14, Le Havre) and Japan (June 19, Nice) as they bid to get out of Group D.
Phil Neville's Lionesses go into the tournament as fourth-favourites with the bookmakers – behind hosts France, the USA and Germany – but will have fond memories of their terrific run to the semi-finals in Canada four years ago. With Champions League and individual award winners in tow this time around, there's no reason why Neville's talented bunch can't go all the way...
1. Karen Bardsley
England’s No.1 in both 2011 and 2015, France 2019 will be Karen Bardsley’s third World Cup.
The 34-year-old, who has won every domestic honour with Manchester City, was named in FIFA’s All-Star team in 2015 after putting in two player-of-the-match performances.
Though born in California, Bardsley has family connections in Stockport and chose to represent England, saying she related more to the English side of her background.
Fun fact: Bardsley worked at Disneyland for a year… as Goofy and Tigger.
13. Carly Telford
Despite only the handful of senior England caps to her name, Telford has been a key member of the England squad for well over a decade.
The Chelsea goalkeeper featured in four of the qualifiers for France 2019, keeping three clean sheets, was a member of the bronze medal-winning squad in 2015 and started two out of the three matches in England’s successful SheBelieves Cup campaign in March.
Fun fact: Carly has a degree in Media Studies and wrote her dissertation on ‘media representation of women’s sport’. We hope she likes this...
21. Mary Earps
The 26-year-old Earps fills Phil Neville’s final goalkeeper spot, named in a major tournament squad for the second time.
Earps made the move from Reading to German champions Wolfsburg in June 2018, saying she needed to test herself outside of her comfort zone. She’s settled in pretty well, winning the league in her first season there.
Fun fact: Mary went to the same school as Jermaine Jenas – though at different times, obviously.
2. Lucy Bronze
“The best player in the world” according to Neville – though the down-to-earth Bronze has been a little more reserved in her self-appraisals with FFT in the past.
She fired herself into the public eye with some brilliant performances in Canada four years ago, scoring a spectacular winner against Norway in England’s second group game.
Recently utilised in midfield, the 27-year-old is a versatile player who is able to play in almost any position. But it’s at right-back where she really comes to life, marauding up and down the touchline, tackling tough and directing pinpoint deliveries into the box.
After conquering England (another member of the squad to clean up with City), Bronze joined Lyon in 2017 – where she has won back-to-back league and Champions League titles.
Fun fact: Bronze’s middle name is ‘Tough’... genuinely.
3. Alex Greenwood
The youngest member of the England squad at World Cup 2015, Greenwood heads to her third major tournament on the back of a successful first season with newly formed Manchester United Women.
The 25-year-old, who made the move from Liverpool, captained her side to the FA Women’s Championship title and promotion to the Women’s Super League (WSL).
A natural leader with or without the armband, Greenwood’s attacking instincts and set-piece deliveries could also prove to be a massive asset to Neville & Co. throughout the tournament.
Fun fact: Greenwood’s partner was also celebrating promotion at the end of the season: Jack O’Connell will be playing Premier League football with Sheffield United next season.
5. Steph Houghton
Since missing out on a place at the 2007 World Cup and Euros in 2009 due to injuries sustained days before both tournaments, Houghton has been an immovable force at the heart of England’s defence.
The 31-year-old will captain England for the second time at her third World Cup, having also played at two European Championships. She recently earned her 100th cap against Sweden in November 2018, entering the Centurions Club alongside Jill Scott and Karen Carney.
Fun fact: Houghton shares a birthday with William Shakespeare and snooker ace Barry Hawkins. She’d rather knock in a 147 than write sonnets, though, as she confirmed to FourFourTwo in a 2018 Ask A Silly Question. Watch out, Rocket Ronnie.
6. Millie Bright
After making her debut in September 2016, Bright went on to start every game at Euro 2017 – the only England player to do so.
Her presence, quality in the air and with the ball at her feet, plus the excellent partnership she has developed with skipper Steph Houghton, could be key to England’s chances in France this summer. The pair have played 14 matches together, keeping nine clean sheets.
Fun fact: While at Doncaster Rovers Belles, Bright also worked as a horse groom and fitness instructor.
12. Demi Stokes
One of eight players in the squad with 50 or more caps, Stokes makes a World Cup squad for the first time after being overlooked by Mark Sampson in 2015.
The full-back signed for Manchester City in 2015 and, as with many of the squad, has won every domestic honour available to her with Nick Cushing’s side.
Fun fact: Her team-mates believe her to be the strongest member of the squad – not someone to be messed with.
14. Leah Williamson
Another new addition to Neville’s England set-up, Williamson is getting her first call-up for a major tournament. The 22-year-old has been at the heart of Arsenal's title-winning defence this season and has represented England at every age group.
She captained England Under-17s and famously had to retake a penalty the day after it was awarded to secure the U19s a spot at the Euros in 2015.
Fun fact: In her spare time, Williamson is training to be an accountant. (Actually, that doesn't sound very fun at all – Ed.)
17. Rachel Daly
Voted Houston Dash’s most valuable player for 2018, Daly is somehow as adept playing in defence as she is up front.
She's been a regular in England squads under Neville, recalled following a 12-month gap last year after scoring a career-high 10 goals in the American National Women’s Soccer League.
Named in a major tournament squad for the first time, it will be interesting to see where and how Daly is utilised.
Fun fact: Daly’s ‘go-to’ dance move is ‘Big Fish, Little Fish, Cardboard Box’. A classic.
15. Abbie McManus
McManus’s route to the World Cup has been pretty different to that of her team-mates. She wasn't involved in the younger national development groups like the majority of the Lionesses, and has worked her way up from the bottom.
She was with Manchester City long before they turned professional in 2014, and the defender caught Neville’s eye following a string of excellent performances early last year which earned her a place on the standby list for England's 2018 SheBelieves Cup. With two defenders withdrawing through injury, McManus grabbed her opportunity and hasn’t looked back since. She'll join Manchester United for 2019/20.
Fun fact: Abbie worked at City as the kit woman before turning professional with them.
4. Keira Walsh
Not many players can say they've captained their country at the age of just 21, but Walsh is held in such high regard that Neville handed her the armband for England’s 6-0 win against Kazakhstan in September 2018 – only her seventh appearance for the senior team.
A player with incredible vision and a range of passing, her assist for Beth Mead’s goal against Japan at the 2019 SheBelieves Cup took eight opposition players out of the game.
Fun fact: Keira’s primary school PE teacher wrote in her secondary school reference that she would represent England one day – only she wasn’t sure in which sport the multi-talented youngster would manage it.
8. Jill Scott
One of just 11 Lionesses centurions, Scott – a huge personality in the dressing room – has been pulling on an England shirt for nearly 13 years.
The 32-year-old has won every domestic honour with Manchester City and is a player for the big occasion at international level too. She scored a semi-final winner at Euro 2009 and most recently netted in the 3-0 win against Wales that secured England’s place at this summer’s tournament.
Fun fact: Scott was given the nickname Peter Crouch at Everton after scoring on her debut and performing the robot.
16. Jade Moore
A key part of the bronze medal-winning squad of 2015, Reading midfielder Moore has been an England regular for the last seven years.
She was part of the Under-19s side that won the European Championship in 2009, and has been a consistent performer for the seniors since making her debut in 2012.
Fun fact: Football saved Moore’s life. She found out that she had two holes in her heart when she had a routine cardiac scan at Loughborough in 2007.
19. Georgia Stanway
The youngest member of the squad might not have many senior caps to her name, but she’s certainly experienced on the international scene.
The 20-year-old helped the Young Lionesses reach the quarter-finals of the Under-17s World Cup in 2016, and won bronze with the Under-20s in France two years later – months after captaining the Under-19s to third place in the Euros.
The Manchester City midfielder scored on her debut against Austria in November 2018 and is comfortable playing in a number of attacking positions.
Fun fact: In 2013, Stanway queued for a photo with Steph Houghton at the FA Cup final. Six years later, they were team-mates at City and lifting the trophy together at Wembley – with Stanway nabbing a goal in the final.
20. Karen Carney
A stalwart of the England team, Carney is heading to her eighth major tournament.
The Chelsea captain made her international debut in 2005 as a 17-year-old and hasn’t looked back, representing England at every major tournament since. She was also selected as a member of Team GB's squad for the London Olympics in 2012.
Fun fact: The most-capped player in the squad, Carney won her 100th at Wembley in 2014 – a 3-0 defeat to Germany. Bah.
23. Lucy Staniforth
One of seven full debutants in Kazakhstan, Staniforth made an impressive start to her senior England career, scoring in the Lionesses’ final 2019 World Cup qualifier. The 26-year-old netted again in the pivotal 3-0 win over Japan at the SheBelieves Cup, and a solid season for Birmingham in the WSL has earned her a spot in Neville’s squad.
Fun fact: Both Lucys (Staniforth and Bronze) went to the same High School in Alnwick, Northumberland.
7. Nikita Parris
Winner of this season’s Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award, Parris is one of England’s most exciting talents. The FAWSL’s all-time top scorer completed a move from Manchester City to Lyon earlier this month, following in the footsteps of Bronze and Izzy Christiansen.
The 25-year-old from Toxteth was England’s top scorer in qualifying with six goals, and heads to her first World Cup in fine form.
Fun fact: Nikita launched the NP17 Football Academy last summer, offering sports qualifications to students in her native Liverpool.
9. Jodie Taylor
Taylor had to be patient when it came to making her international debut, but eventually got it aged 28 in 2014. She didn’t have to wait long before finding the net, though: on just her fifth appearance she scored a hat-trick against Australia in 2015.
Two years later, she became just the third England player to score a hat-trick at a major tournament, netting three against Scotland to help the Lionesses on their way to the Euro 2017 semi-finals.
The 33-year-old, who finished as the tournament’s top scorer at Euro 2017, was also part of the 2015 World Cup squad and scored a crucial goal against hosts Canada in the quarter-finals.
Fun fact: Jodie has played football in five different countries in her career: England, USA, Australia, Sweden and Canada.
10. Fran Kirby
The 2017/18 PFA and FWA Player of the Year has enjoyed an incredible four years since her World Cup debut in 2015.
She contributed 25 goals – including an excellent strike in the FA Cup final at Wembley – as Emma Hayes’ side won the league and cup double last season.
The former Reading forward has 12 goals in 37 matches for England and will be hoping to add more to her World Cup tally after scoring against Mexico in the group stage in 2015.
Fun fact: Alongside Lucy Bronze, Kirby was on the shortlist for the inaugural Women’s Ballon d’Or award.
11. Toni Duggan
A key member of the squad as England won bronze at Canada 2015, Duggan has been a part of the senior England set-up for seven years.
The former Manchester City striker also helped the Under-19s win the Euros in 2009, alongside future senior team colleagues Jordan Nobbs, Bronze, Moore, Christiansen and Gemma Bonner.
She made history with Barcelona this season as they reached the Champions League final for the first time – but heavy defeat to Lyon befell them.
Fun fact: Duggan is the only player to have featured in every one of Neville’s 17 matches as England head coach.
18. Ellen White
Replacing outgoing England colleague Nikita Parris at Manchester City, White is in a World Cup squad for the third time.
The 30-year-old striker scored 21 goals in 26 league games for Birmingham this season and has netted several important goals for her country in her nine-year international career so far.
A last-minute winner against the USA in 2017 inflicted the world champions’ first home defeat in 23 matches, and White scored a brilliant lobbed effort in England’s win over eventual champions Japan in 2011.
Fun fact: White has been given the Freedom of Aylesbury, her hometown, for her achievements in the game.
22. Beth Mead
Mead made headlines following her ‘crot’ goal at the SheBelieves Cup earlier this year, but the 23-year-old has been scoring goals freely for years.
She netted 77 in 78 games for former club Sunderland and has enjoyed playing in a different position out wide since joining Arsenal in 2017, where she won the WSL title this season.
With five goals in 12 appearances since her debut for the Lionesses in April 2018, Mead is one to watch in France.
Fun fact: Well, not so much fun… Mead had a narrow escape in 2015 when driving in Whitby. She swerved to avoid hitting a deer, with her car flipping three times. She was unhurt and scored a hat-trick at Chelsea two days later.
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