Stokes makes England debut

Demi Stokes.
Demi Stokes.
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DEMI Stokes became the latest player who came through the Sunderland ranks to play for England today.

Stokes, who left Sunderland Women two years ago to play in the United States, was part of new England boss Mark Sampson’s first starting line-up in a 1-1 draw with Norway in La Manga.

The former Bristol Academy boss took a 30-strong squad to the Spanish resort for their annual bout of warm-weather training – and the trip concluded with today’s match against Norway.

Things looked bright when Eniola Aluko cut inside and fired over the Norway goalkeeper and into the net to give England a 10th-minute lead.

However, the Euro 2013 runners-up posed the expected threat and England keeper Karen Bardsley needed to be at her best to make good saves from Elise Thorsnes and Kristine Minde.

Lianne Sanderson came close to doubling England’s advantage on the hour - but her close-range header from Stokes’ cross was saved by Cecile Fiskarstrand.

And Norway equalised in the 87th minute when Melissa Bjanesoy headed home from a corner.

England were again captained by Wearsider Steph Houghton, while two other former Sunderland players – Jill Scott and Lucy Bronze – also played.