Leah Williamson and Fran Kirby Lead Lionesses in Quest to Defend Arnold Clark Cup

The Lionesses are back in action and are looking to defend their Arnold Clark Cup title against three new challengers: Belgium, Italy, and the Korean Republic.

Sarina Wiegman’s side had been by the return of Captain Leah Williamson and Chelsea’s Fran Kirby, who missed out on the last squad through injury.

The team includes ten players with less than ten caps for England and three uncapped players goalkeeper Emily Ramsey, Maya Le Tissier, and Jessica Park.

The injured Beth Mead misses out, along with Manchester City’s Esme Morgan and Manchester United forward Nikita Parris. Everton defender Gabby George dropped out only days after being named WSL Player of the Month for January.

Manchester City midfielder Laura Coombs returns to the squad eight years after winning the last of her two international caps, having enjoyed a solid domestic season in the WSL to date, including a Fans’ Player of the Month award in December.

Arnold Clark Cup allows Wiegman to test out some of the squad’s new faces and young players and to see how they fit in with the veterans who have been a part of the Lionesses for several years.

The tournament also marks a critical stage in the Lioness’s preparations for this summer’s World Cup.

Bethany England of Spurs, Jordan Nobbs, and Lucy Staniforth of Villa all moved clubs in January to improve their England credentials, but Wiegman acknowledged it would be “tough” for them to break into her World Cup squad.

The Finalissima against Brazil in April is the Lionesses’ only scheduled game after the Arnold Clark Cup, and Wiegman will have to make some tough decisions when choosing her World Cup squad.

With the tournament just a few months away, the Arnold Clark Cup is a crucial opportunity for the Lionesses to prepare for the challenge ahead and defend their title.

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