Sunderland’s Beth Mead called up for England duty

Beth Mead.
Beth Mead.
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Mark Sampson has handed four players their first call up to his squad for England Women’s trip to China next week.

Sunderland’s Beth Mead and Chelsea trio Hannah Blundell, Laura Coombs and Drew Spence have all been named in the 21-player group for the CFA International Women’s Football Tournament.

All four players appeared regularly for their clubs during The FA WSL season, with Chelsea securing the League and Cup double.

Mead was this season’s FA WSL 1 top scorer with 12 goals.

All four have played for England youth teams and most recently the Under-23s. Blundell, Coombs and Mead have trained with the senior squad during recent camps.

England travel to YongChuan, Chongqing, on Monday where they will face Australia (October 23) and China (October 27).

Sampson has chosen to rest some players from Arsenal and Notts County, who will take part in The FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup Final in Rotherham on Sunday, November 1, while also resting other squad regulars who are carrying injuries.

Sampson said: “The tournament is an opportunity for the team to continue to grow and a chance for our new players to lay down a marker and demonstrate their international capabilities.

“I am delighted to welcome the new players into the group. They have all shown potential with their clubs or when they trained with our group prior to the World Cup. The player pool in England is growing and creating strong competition for places is crucial to driving our players and our team to the next level.

“To be able to select a squad this strong without some players from two of our major clubs demonstrates that strength in depth. It is a huge positive that we can work closely with our FA WSL clubs to help our players and I would like to thank all of them for their support this season.”

England’s next home game is against Bosnia & Herzegovina on Sunday 29 November (3.30pm KO) as part of their UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 qualifying campaign.

Squad for China: Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Mary Earps (Bristol Academy), Rachael Laws (Sunderland)

Defenders: Hannah Blundell (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Gilly Flaherty (Chelsea), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Claire Rafferty (Chelsea), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Demi Stokes (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City), Laura Coombs (Chelsea), Jo Potter (Birmingham City), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Drew Spence (Chelsea)

Forwards: Eniola Aluko (Chelsea), Gemma Davison (Chelsea), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Beth Mead (Sunderland), Lianne Sanderson (Portland Thorns), Jodie Taylor (Portland Thorns).