Man United forward Alessia Russo called up to England Women squad for World Cup qualifiers

Manchester United forward Alessia Russo has been included in England’s squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Northern Ireland and Latvia later this month.

Russo, who made her sole appearance for the Lionesses to date in March 2020, returns to the squad as part of a 24-player group selected by Sarina Wiegman.

United captain Katie Zelem and Aston Villa goalkeeper Hannah Hampton are the two uncapped players in the squad.

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Man United forward Alessia Russo returns to the England squad ahead of World Cup qualifiers

Katie Zelem (left) and Hannah Hampton (right) are the two uncapped Lionesses in the squad

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While the fit-again Keira Walsh is back after missing last month’s 8-0 win over North Macedonia and 10-0 victory against Luxembourg, there is no place in the squad for Jordan Nobbs, who has also recovered from an injury.

England were skippered for the two games in September by Leah Williamson in the absence of the injured Steph Houghton, who remains sidelined along with the likes of Lucy Bronze and Ellie Roebuck.

England face Northern Ireland at Wembley – their first competitive match at the stadium – on October 23 before taking on Latvia away three days later.

Keira Walsh (centre) also makes a return for the Lionesses after being sidelined with injury

Leah Williamson wore the armband for last month’s games int he absence of Steph Houghton

Wiegman said: ‘After a wonderful start to our World Cup qualifying campaign last month, we are incredibly excited to play our first competitive fixture at Wembley Stadium.

‘The incredible atmosphere our supporters generated at St Mary’s Stadium for our match against North Macedonia gave our players and staff a tremendous lift, so the prospect of playing in front of thousands of fans at our national stadium later this month will be a special moment.

‘Northern Ireland have made strong progress in recent years, qualifying earlier this year for the 2022 home UEFA Women’s Euros. On top of that, their recent 4-0 victory over Latvia shows the strength of their team and their determination to qualify for the World Cup.

‘I can’t wait to get back together with our squad this weekend. Every player showed great ability and the collective positivity and ambition within the group was fantastic to see.

‘We do still have one or two injuries to key players to contend with, but the depth in our squad is very strong. We hope to give our supporters more reasons to celebrate this month as we continue our progress towards qualification.’

Wiegman says the Lionesses are ‘excited’ to play their first competitive game at Wembley

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