Sunderland striker called up for England duty

Beth Mead
Beth Mead
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Beth Mead has the chance to take a major step up the international ladder next month.

The Sunderland striker, largely ignored by England head coach Mark Sampson, has been picked for the national U23 squad for the Nordic Tournament.

Despite being the WSL’s top scorer by some distance last season, the 21-year-old has barely featured in the senior squads.

England are the hosts for the annual competition against Norway (Thursday, June 2), Sweden (Saturday, June 4) and USA (Tuesday, June 7), which will be staged at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre.

It is a great opportunity for Mead to shine against high-class opposition, albeit in an empty ground - the matches are being staged behind closed doors.

Despite being the WSL’s top scorer by some distance last season, the 21-year-old has barely featured in the senior squads.

She was called into the England squad for a tournament in China last November, but did not come off the bench either against the hosts or Australia.

Mead did spend some time with the England camp at St George’s Park ahead of a Euro 2017 qualifier in Estonia.

Her regular absence from Sampson’s squads continues top baffle many observers, especially given England have scored only three goals on the last four internationals.

England U23 head coach Mo Marley said: “The Nordics are a great opportunity for our players to get valuable experience of tournament football, which is hugely beneficial to their development.”

England squad

Goalkeepers: Sophie Baggaley (Birmingham City), Elizabeth Durack (Harvard University)

Defenders: Hannah Blundell (Chelsea), Molly Bartrip (Reading), Ellie Stewart (Everton), Jess Carter (Birmingham City), Millie Turner (Everton), Abbie McManus (Manchester City), Elisha N’Dow (Aston Villa)

Midfielders: Jade Bailey (Chelsea), Jodie Brett (Bristol City – on loan from Chelsea), Katie Zelem (Liverpool), Beth England (Chelsea), Jess Sigsworth (Doncaster Rovers Belles)

Forwards: Rosella Ayane (Bristol City – on loan from Chelsea), Carla Humphrey (Doncaster Rovers Belles – on loan from Arsenal), Millie Farrow (Bristol City – on loan from Chelsea), Melissa Lawley (Birmingham City), Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah (Everton), Beth Mead (Sunderland)