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Leah Williamson returns to England squad after 10-month absence

England captain Leah Wiliamson has been recalled to the Lionesses squad as they start preparations for the Euro 2025 qualifiers with friendlies against Austria and Italy. Williamson has been called up again after suffering an ACL injury in April last year. She lifted the Women's Finalissima trophy weeks before suffering the rupture, missing England's World Cup campaign. The 26-year-old returned to the pitch for Arsenal recently, making two starts in the WSL. Midfielder Jess Park has also earned a recall after being dropped from recent squads, while Chelsea's Millie Bright is still unavailable through injury. Surprisingly there is no room for Manchester United's Nikita Parris, who has been capped 71 times by England, in Sarina Wiegman's 23-player squad after excelling for at club level in recent weeks, notching 15 goals in all competitions this season. Wiegman recently signed a new contract / Kate Green/GettyImages At the end of 2023, England fell agonisingly short of qualifying for the Nations League finals after defeats to the Netherlands and Belgium during the group stage. Despite clawing back a 3-2 win over the Dutch and storming to a 6-0 emphatic victory over Scotland, it was not enough to topple the Netherlands' superior goal difference on a dramatic final matchday, leaving the Lionesses lying in second. Securing progressing to the Nations League finals also acted as qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Olympics and as England were the representative nation for Great Britain, they will not compete at this summer's games. At the start of this year, Wiegman signed a new contract with England, keeping her at the helm until the 2027 World Cup. The Lionesses made it to the final for the first time last summer but suffered a 1-0 defeat to Spain - the second successive time Wiegman had finished as a runner-up in the World Cup having done so with the Netherlands in 2019. In order to prepare for the upcoming Euro 2025 qualifiers, England have scheduled two friendlies against comprehensive European sides Italy and Austria to try and exorcise their demons after struggling to break down low-blocks held by lower ranked European teams. The two matches will take place on a warm-weather training camp in Spain. The next instalment of the Euros will place in Switzerland, starting on 2 July 2025. To reach the tournament, the reigning champions must place in the top two of their group in the second Nations League round commencing in April. The draw for the Euro 2025 qualifiers will be taking place on 5 March 2024. Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Man Utd), Hannah Hampton (Chelsea), Khiara Keating (Man City) Defenders: Lucy Bronze (Barcelona), Jess Carter (Chelsea), Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Alex Greenwood (Man City), Maya Le Tissier (Man Utd), Esme Morgan (Man City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal) Midfielders: Grace Clinton (Tottenham), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Jess Park (Man City), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), Ella Toone (Man Utd), Keira Walsh (Barcelona) Forwards: Rachel Daly (Aston Villa), Lauren Hemp (Man City), Lauren James (Chelsea), Chloe Kelly (Man City), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Alessia Russo (Arsenal)

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