Sarina Wigman said Steph Houghton had run out of time to be fit for Euros after the former England captain was dropped from the 23-player squad for next month’s tournament.
“It was a difficult decision,” said the manager. “He is in a very good place but not ready to compete. It was just a matter of time, and we don’t have that time.”
Goalkeeper Sandy McIver missed out, giving priority to Hannah Hampton, Eli Roebuck and Mary Arps, and Chelsea full-backs Niamh Charles and Manchester United’s Katie Zelem and Lucy Staniforth were also dropped.
Five players, who missed 5, have been training with England since being named in the 28-player provisional squad for the tournament, but they have played 46 minutes in total in Wigman’s 11 matches.
Teams can swap players in and out of squads assigned to UEFA until their first game in the event of a covid or serious injury.
Houghton, who has 121 caps, is looking to prove his mettle after missing out on much of the season. The Manchester City defender suffered an ankle injury during Wigman’s first camp last September and has not played under him. He returned for City in January but escalated the injury after playing five games.
“It’s hard for every player to let us down,” Wigman said. “She is such a big player and has had such an impact on the English game. Of course, she was really disappointed. I know she did everything to make it happen, so she wasn’t happy. He just took the arguments I gave and we left it for now and we will get in touch later.
“It’s hard, but first you have respect for each other and you have open, honest conversations. Of course, it’s emotional but the best thing is to give honest answers and argue the football and put it up front.” Bring it.”
Wigman confirmed that the 34-year-old would not be playing a non-playing role. “They have a lot of experience but in this team we have other players who can share the experience with the team, so it’s just 23 players,” he said.
England’s second most capped player Jill Scott and Chelsea forward Fran Kirby are involved after suffering an injury and a state of fatigue respectively.
“He’s done well,” Wigman said of Kirby. “She has been in training for some time and has been in the camp with us. She is playing training games and is ready to compete tomorrow.
She said that Scott was “in a good place now” and “was training all the time and is ready to compete”. The midfielder has 156 caps, trailing Fara Williams at 172, and has been in nine major tournaments with England.
Nine players – Roebuck, Hampton, Jess Carter, Lotte Wauben-Moy, Alessia Russo, Ella Toon, Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly and Bethany England – will compete in their first major tournament.
Wigman said the recent training camps played an important role in his decision-making. “We have the big picture. We had the whole season and the players came in different situations, so we evaluated all the time. Over time we got the picture. We used all the training sessions. Are we in the right place? “What do we see now? Are they in a good place?”
Lioness is unbeaten under Wigman and has scored 72 goals and conceded one.
England will play Belgium in three pre-tournament friendly on Thursday at Molineux. They face the holders of Wigman’s former team the Netherlands, on the land Road, before traveling for a week-long camp and match in Switzerland.
England made their Euro debut against Austria on 6 July at the sold-out Old Trafford.