Hope Powell has rewarded uncapped Liverpool LFC defenders Gemma Bonner and Lucy Bronze with places in an otherwise experienced England squad for UEFA Women's EURO 2013.
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England coach Hope Powell has named uncapped defenders Gemma Bonner and Lucy Bronze in an otherwise experienced squad for UEFA Women's EURO 2013.
The Liverpool LFC pair are two of five players – the others being Jordan Nobbs, Toni Duggan and Jade Moore – in the 23-strong party who helped England to glory at the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship in Belarus four years ago. The 21-year-olds get their chance in the absence of left-backs Rachel Unitt and Claire Rafferty, who are both recovering from cruciate knee ligament injuries.
Powell, for whom next month's tournament in Sweden will be her fourth Women's EURO finals at the England helm, said: "It is well documented that we have an issue with injured defenders, so Gemma and Lucy give us extra cover. Both have done extremely well for Liverpool this season.
"More importantly, they will get the experience of being in a senior tournament, as will Toni, Jordan and Jade. Any of them may be required to play, but if not they'll have that experience for the future."
Powell, who announced her squad within the opulent surroundings of the British Museum in central London, has otherwise kept faith with the majority of the group that helped England qualify unbeaten.
Goalkeeper Rachel Brown and talismanic striker Kelly Smith will each travel to their sixth major championship, while seven players will appear at their fifth finals: Alex Scott, Casey Stoney, Anita Asante, Karen Carney, Fara Williams, Rachel Yankey and Eniola Aluko.
One of those, Yankey, was surprisingly omitted by Powell for the 2009 edition in Finland, where her side lost 6-2 to Germany in the final. The Arsenal LFC winger, 33, surpassed Gillian Coultard's national women's record of 119 caps when she featured in a 3-0 win against Croatia in the last game of qualifying. Yankey said: "It's a positive thing for me to be back involved, it's fantastic. Hopefully we can go one better [than 2009]."
England step up their preparations when they play world champions Japan in a friendly on 26 June in Burton-upon-Trent. Hosts Sweden provide the opposition on 4 July in the squad's last warm-up match before their tournament opener against Spain eight days later.
France, England's final opponents in Group C following an encounter with Russia, were the first of the 12 participating countries to name their squad.
Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Lincoln LFC), Rachel Brown (Everton LFC), Siobhan Chamberlain (Bristol Academy WFC).
Defenders: Laura Bassett (Birmingham City LFC), Gemma Bonner (Liverpool LFC), Sophie Bradley (Lincoln LFC), Lucy Bronze (Liverpool LFC), Stephanie Houghton (Arsenal LFC), Alex Scott (Arsenal LFC), Casey Stoney (Lincoln LFC), Dunia Susi (Chelsea LFC).
Midfielders: Anita Asante (Göteborg FC), Karen Carney (Birmingham City LFC), Jessica Clarke (Lincoln LFC), Jade Moore (Birmingham City LFC), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal LFC), Jill Scott (Everton LFC), Fara Williams (Liverpool LFC), Rachel Yankey (Arsenal LFC).
Forwards: Eniola Aluko (Chelsea LFC), Toni Duggan (Everton LFC), Kelly Smith (Arsenal LFC), Ellen White (Arsenal LFC).