Former captain Steph Houghton missed out on England’s squad for Euro 2022 as coach Sarina Wiegman selected her 23 players for the tournament on home soil on Wednesday.
Houghton had Achilles surgery in February which forced her to miss the second half of the club season with Manchester City.Houghton Misses out on England Squad
The 34-year-old has made 121 appearances for England, featuring at five major tournaments.
“It was a hard decision. She’s just not ready to compete. It was just a matter of time and we don’t have that time,” said Wiegman.
“She is such a big player and has had such an impact on the English game. Of course she was really, really disappointed.”
Arsenal’s Leah Williamson has taken over the captaincy from Houghton and leads a squad with a mixture of youth and experience from the side that reached the semi-finals of the World Cup three years ago.
Nine of the squad will be involved in a major tournament for the first time.
“We all know this is a huge opportunity and it is one we have to grab with both hands,” said Wiegman, who has experience of winning the Euro with home advantage after leading her native Netherlands to the title five years ago.
“The chance to represent the nation on such a big stage on home soil is one to relish. This group so far has proven they are prepared to give it all they have in every training session, in every meeting and in every game.”
Sandy MacIver, Niamh Charles, Lucy Staniforth and Katie Zelem were also cut form the provisional squad of 28 but changes can be made until June 26 in case of injuries.
Chelsea midfielder Fran Kirby is included despite not playing since February due to a fatigue issue, while Jill Scott has been called up for her 10th major tournament even though she has also had fitness problems in the past few months.
England kick off the tournament at Old Trafford against Austria on July 6 before facing Norway and Northern Ireland in Group A.
“Of course, we hope to avoid any setbacks before we start against Austria but we know where we can turn in case we need a replacement,” added Wiegman.
“Togetherness is a big part of what we are all about and from every player in the squad to my superb support team, and with the strong backing of everyone at The FA and our fans, we are committed to make it a summer to remember.”
The Lionesses begin their tournament preparations against Belgium on Thursday, with further friendlies against the Netherlands and Switzerland to come later this month