(Reuters) – Steph Houghton was omitted from the England squad for the Women’s European Championship at home next month due to fitness concerns as manager Sarina Wiegman announced her 23-player selection on Wednesday.
Manchester City defender Houghton, who has captained England at their last three major international tournaments, hasn’t played since January due to injury. Leah Williamson will take the armband in her absence.
Fran Kirby, Jill Scott and Alessia Russo were included but there was no place for Niamh Charles, Lucy Staniforth, Katie Zelem or Sandy MacIver as Wiegman cut five players from the her provisional squad.
“Making the final selection is always difficult because we know the talent and commitment of every single player,” said Wiegman.
“All 28 players have been superb on and off the pitch, since I started. I am certain those we have had to disappoint will give everything to support us and be ready if called upon.”
England, twice runners-up at the Euros, kick off their campaign against Austria at Old Trafford on July 6 before games against Norway and Northern Ireland.
Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Manchester United), Hannah Hampton (Aston Villa), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City)
Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Jess Carter (Chelsea), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal)
Midfielders: Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Jill Scott (Aston Villa, loan from Manchester City), Georgia Stanway (Manchester City), Ella Toone (Manchester United), Keira Walsh (Manchester City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal)
Forwards: Bethany England (Chelsea), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Chloe Kelly (Manchester City), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Nikita Parris (Arsenal), Alessia Russo (Manchester United), Ellen White (Manchester City)
(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)