England hit with double injury blow as Keira Walsh ruled out of Women’s Nations League

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

England will be without Keira Walsh for their opening Nations League games this month.

The Barcelona midfielder will miss the matches with Scotland and the Netherlands due to injury.

Tottenham striker Beth England is also absent from the 24-player squad after undergoing surgery on a hip problem.

Lionesses head coach Sarina Wiegman has stuck by the players who led England to the Women’s World Cup final in August, with the rest of the squad that played in Australia all named.

Arsenal forward Beth Mead and Chelsea playmaker Fran Kirby have not been called up as they continue to recover from knee injuries.

Aston Villa midfielder Lucy Staniforth, Manchester City midfielder Jess Park and Manchester United Maya Le Tissier have all made the cut.

The Lionesses will first be in action on Friday, September 22 with Scotland making the short trip across the border to the home of Sunderland. Four days later, England will play the Netherlands away in Utrecht on Tuesday.

The Nations League campaign sees England drawn with Belgium, the Netherlands and Scotland in one of a quartet of League A four-team groups. The winners of each section will qualify for the semi- finals in February, before a final is played to determine the overall champions.

If Team GB wish to enter a team in next year’s Olympics, then England need to reach the final of the Nations League.

Wiegman said: “By the time we play our first game, it will be little more than a month since the World Cup final.

“We have had little time to reflect on all we have achieved so far this year. Instead, we will have to make sure the players are fresh enough and ready to perform straight away, if we want to go far in another competition.

“We will play a derby match against Scotland and they have shown good development recently and are getting stronger and stronger, while we know all about the Netherlands of course and the very talented players they have.

“It is the first time we have had the Nations League in the women’s game, and it will mean even more competitive matches for us to test ourselves.

“While the time to look back on a special period for us will come at the end of the year, it will be good to see the fans again in Sunderland. We have a great connection with the north-east and I know they will give us tremendous support again.”