Wiegman Names Everton Goalkeeper Ramsey in Arnold Clark Cup Squad

by Dom Smith

Sarina Wiegman has included uncapped goalkeeper Emily Ramsey of Everton in her 26-player squad for the Arnold Clark Cup this month — and insists her World Cup selections are “not set in stone.”

Ramsey is included in the squad for the first time having previously played for every England age group at youth level. She has only started half of Everton’s WSL matches so far this season but has performed well when called upon.

England won the inaugural edition of the Arnold Clark Cup last year after drawing with Canada and Spain and beating Germany in an eventual audition for the European Championships final. This time they face South Korea, Italy and Belgium all on home soil.

Asked whether this squad is likely to mirror the group she takes to Australia and New Zealand for the World Cup in July, Wiegman said: “We’re going to try out some things and see some players that we might not have seen a lot of before. It’s not set in stone now.”

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Midfielder Laura Coombs, who has just signed a two-year contract extension with Manchester City, returns following more than two years in the international wilderness. The 32-year-old made her England senior debut back in 2015.

Captain Leah Williamson is fit again after missing the November camp in which England beat Japan 4-0 and drew 1-1 draw with Norway in Murcia, Spain. Lucy Bronze, Fran Kirby and Lauren Hemp also return. Beth Mead is still out with an ACL injury that makes her a doubt for the World Cup.

Everton’s Gabby George, Esme Morgan of Manchester City and Manchester United’s Nikita Parris drop out of the squad having all featured in November.

Beth England, Jordan Nobbs and Lucy Staniforth have all been England regulars in the past and all made January transfers in the hope of regaining their England places. Yet Wiegman has overlooked all three this time and stood firm when asked why, simply saying: “They’re competing for selection.”

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“The world after the Euros changed a little bit,” Wiegman said. “We have to adapt to that new situation. I think we were favourites and we have to be aware of that but we want to improve too. This is a step next week again: to show that and to improve our style of play again and to get more information on the players.

“It’s similar to what we have at the World Cup,” she said about the quality of competition in the Arnold Clark Cup. “I’m really happy with South Korea as it’s an Asian country and we play China at the World Cup. They play a little differently so that’s good for us to adapt to.

“Italy have grown very much over the last couple of years. A tough opponent who have changed their style of play too; they keep improving. Belgium just missed out on the World Cup but what they showed at the Euros they are a tough, physical opponent who want to play football. I think it will be challenging games that will help us get our preparation right.”

England host South Korea in Milton Keynes on 16 February, face Italy in Coventry three days later, and finish the campaign against Belgium at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate on 22 February.

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