FOUR Birmingham City Ladies players are in England’s Under-23 squad during the current annual La Manga Tournament.
Striker Kirsty Linnett joined up with the squad for a second year running, while winger Mel Lawley will be hoping to make an impact in Spain, as will defenders Aoife Mannion and Meaghan Sargeant.
While the senior side take on the world’s best in America, Marieanne Spacey’s Under-23s will test themselves against three powerhouses of the women’s game.
The next generation of Lionesses began the tournament with a difficult test against Germany yesterday (Wednesday) but they rose to the challenge to win 1-0.
They then face USA on March 4 and they will also take on Sweden on March 6.
Ten of the squad took part in the FIFA Women’s Under-20s World Cup in 2014, while Reading goalkeeper Mary Earps and Chelsea defender Hannah Blundell both have previously been in Mark Sampson’s senior squad.
“This trip to La Manga will give this group of players a fantastic opportunity to experience top quality opposition, in USA, Germany and Sweden,” said Spacey.
“The Under-23s have a limited games programme and to play these three nations within ten days is an integral part of their continued development as international players.
“With the senior team back in European Championship qualification after the SheBelieves Cup in March, this group of players have the opportunity to stake a claim for a place in the squad moving forward.
“Having the consistency of me working with the Under-23s on this occasion will allow us to really observe the players against top quality opposition and see who is in a position to really push for a place in the seniors in the near future.
“It is an exciting group of players who will all be committed and determined to perform as a team in the tournament.”
Spacey, who has a dual role of Under-23s head coach and senior team assistant, will fly out to the USA after the tournament to join up with the senior team to help with their preparations for the final match of the SheBelieves Cup, against France on Wednesday, March 9.