Arsenal striker Beth Mead back in England squad for first time in over a year

By Sports Desk November 21, 2023

Beth Mead has been recalled to the England squad for the first time in over a year ahead of the Lionesses’ final Nations League fixtures.

It is a welcome return to the international fold for the 28-year-old Arsenal forward, who resumed club action last month after suffering an ACL injury last November.

England face the Netherlands at Wembley on December 1 before taking on Scotland at Hampden Park four days later.

Tottenham midfielder Grace Clinton and Manchester City goalkeeper Khiara Keating also retain their places, having received their first senior call-ups in October.

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  • Striking the balance: Wall names 10 overseas-based players in final squad for U-20 Champs Striking the balance: Wall names 10 overseas-based players in final squad for U-20 Champs

    Having found a good blend of local and overseas-based players, young Reggae Boyz Head coach John Wall will now be hoping his team can execute efficiently throughout their Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Championship campaign.

    Wall and his 21-member team, which includes 10 overseas-based players, are scheduled to arrive in St Kitts and Nevis on Wednesday where they are expected to fine tune preparations for their Group F assignment against Martinique, Grenada and Bermuda.

    The Swedish tactician named his final squad following two warm-up fixtures against their Trinidad and Tobago counterparts, and one against their senior club outfit in the twin island republic. They first lost 2-3 to Trinidad and Tobago, but won the second contest 3-1, with a goalless stalemate against the club team.

    Despite those results, Wall in a recent interview, expressed pleasure with his team's display for the most part.

    “Three games, three different outcomes, but mainly it (the camp) was just to build a solid foundation in our style of play, how the environment is, what we value and what it takes to play in the national setting. So, it gave me a lot of answers as to where the players are at present, and what needs to be assessed as we move forward towards St Kitts, so hopefully the process can continue ahead of the tournament,” Wall said.

    With Jamaica failing to qualify for the Under-20 Men’s World Cup since Argentina 2001, the hope is that Wall’s side will better the country’s quarterfinals run from Honduras in 2022, to accomplish the qualifying feat.

    The young Reggae Boyz will open against Martinique on Saturday, followed by a clash with Grenada on February 26, before closing against Bermuda two days later.

    “For me it’s about controlling the controllable at this point in terms of what we can do,” Wall, who is assisted by former Reggae Boyz defender Rudolph Austin, declared.

    “My hope and aspiration (for the tournament) lie in the work that we put down and not the talent that we assess, so we have to do the work consistently because ultimately what I care about is making sure that Jamaica prevails,” he added.

    Only the group winners will progress to the next phase of the Concacaf Under-20 tournament to join the top teams –United States, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic –ranked in that order.

    Squad -Akeem Bernard (Phoenix Academy), Joshua Grant (Real Salt Lake), Taywane Lynch (Mount Pleasant FA), Romain Blake (Chicago Fire), Michael Forbes (Cavalier), Adrian Reid Jr (Cavalier), Ronaldo Barrett (Cavalier), Ahir Dixon (Woodstock Academy), George Grant Jr (Middlesbrough FC), Kyron Horsley McKay (Millwall FC), Alexander Bicknell (Leixoes SC), Malachi Welch (Leyton Orient), Christopher Ainsworth (Cavalier), Brian Burkett (Dunbeholden FC), Dunsting Cohen (Vere United FC), Denzel McKenzie (Phoenix Academy), Robino Gordon (Phoenix Academy), Fabian Reynolds (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Ashton Gordon (Atlanta United), Nick Simmonds (Richmond Kickers), Tyrese Gowe (Dunbeholden FC)

  • Manu Tuilagi has ‘some really good years ahead’, says Kevin Sinfield Manu Tuilagi has ‘some really good years ahead’, says Kevin Sinfield

    England are considering unleashing Manu Tuilagi against Scotland amid a warning from Kevin Sinfield that the midfield powerhouse remains a potent force.

    Tuilagi is in contention to make his first appearance of the Guinness Six Nations at Murrayfield on Saturday, having been sidelined since December because of a groin tear.

    It is the latest of many injury setbacks for the 32-year-old Sale Sharks centre, who broke his hand twice at last autumn’s World Cup, ruling him out of the start of the club season.

    Tuilagi’s return would provide the ball-carrying muscle missing from England’s back line – Ollie Lawrence is also an option for the role – and Sinfield insists he still has plenty to offer the national side.

    “I would say this without any doubt – don’t write him off yet,” the assistant coach said.

    “He’s still got some really good years ahead of him and he’s very much a big part of how we move forward and what we are doing here.

    “When you play like he has done for so long, and you are so physical, it is inevitable that at some point in your career you will have a run of injuries.

    “What you find with the powerful-type guys, one injury tends to lead into another.”

    Also back in contention for the pivotal round-three encounter in Edinburgh is George Martin, the star of England’s heartbreaking World Cup semi-final defeat to South Africa who is fully fit after tweaking his knee.

    The 22-year-old enforcer, who can operate at lock or blindside flanker, stood toe to toe with the Springboks and his physicality will be a valuable asset against Scotland.

    “Big. Physical. Aggressive. Great ball carrier and he’s one of our better defenders,” Sinfield said.

    “In the semi-final he really stood out on the international stage against some of the biggest, nastiest, most aggressive forwards in the world. He was in and amongst it.

    “If selected I have no doubt he’ll leave a mark on somebody. He’s already a top player, but he’s going to get better and better.”

    England have won only one of their last six meetings with Scotland and visit Murrayfield knowing it is the most hostile of all opposition venues for Red Rose teams.

    Fly-half George Ford has braced his side for a “niggly game” – he was targeted in the tunnel by Scotland number eight Ryan Wilson in 2018, sparking a brawl with Owen Farrell – and Sinfield insists frayed tempers are inevitable.

    “There’s certainly going to be some niggle. When you’ve got two angry, nasty forward packs wanting to go at each other, there will be some niggle,” he said.

    “It’s a Test match, there’s a lot at stake and we haven’t won against them for a number of years, so no doubt there’ll be some niggle.

    “There will be some bits thrown at us over the next couple of days that we haven’t planned for or we haven’t quite expected.

    “But that’s the nature of being in top-level sport and we meed to make the best of some of the circumstances we are faced with.

    “The history is important for us to understand but it won’t change anything – we’re not going up there with any fear.

    “We know how dangerous they are, we know they’re a good team, we know they’ve got some great players. But so have we.”

  • West Brom strengthen hold on fifth with comfortable victory at Plymouth West Brom strengthen hold on fifth with comfortable victory at Plymouth

    West Brom strengthened their hold on fifth place in the Championship as they bounced back with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Plymouth.

    The Baggies suffered defeat at promotion contenders Southampton on Friday but came out fighting on Tuesday night, with all three goals coming in the final 30 minutes from Cedric Kipre, substitute Mikey Johnston and Tom Fellows.

    West Brom’s Alex Mowatt went close in the third minute with a goal-bound angled drive from range that took a deflection, off a home defender and onto the post.

    Although the subsequent corner was cleared, it needed a superb sliding tackle from recalled defender Brendan Galloway to deny visiting skipper Jed Wallace as he homed in on goal a minute later.

    In Argyle’s first serious attack, 18-goal top scorer Morgan Whittaker’s cross was cleared but only as far as incoming midfielder Adam Randell, who let fly with a thumping 20-yard first-timer that flew just wide.

    Mowatt’s inswinging corner had to be punched off the goal-line by home goalkeeper Conor Hazard.

    Hazard made a superb 28th-minute save to keep out Andreas Weimann’s thunderous strike on the bounce after a clever aerial through ball from playmaker Wallace down the right.

    The hosts countered with right wing-back Lino Sousa firing over from their next attack.

    Home defender Bali Mumba did well to block Weimann’s 36th-minute volley as the ball was looped back into the area from the right by Wallace.

    West Brom started the second half as they finished the first – on the attack.

    Weimann went close with an angled shot on the run as he latched on to a defence-splitting through ball from Fellows from the right.

    The striker let fly with a first-time strike as he swerved to beat his marker, but the shot flew just wide of goal, with the diving Hazard beaten.

    Albion hit the post again seven minutes after the break as under-pressure Plymouth failed to clear their lines following another corner.

    The ball was headed back across goal by Nathaniel Chalobah, while Wallace, who was just inside the area, sent in a shot that crashed off the foot of the post and across the goal-line.

    Just after the hour mark, West Brom’s pressure paid off as unmarked Kipre had time to left-foot the ball home from close range at the far post as Argyle failed to clear John Swift’s corner from the right.

    Albion’s Conor Townsend fired in an audacious long-range effort that flew over from 30 yards in the 73rd minute.

    In their next meaningful attack, Baggies substitute Johnston fired the away side 2-0 ahead with a brilliant solo effort after 76 minutes.

    Johnston cut in from the left, into the box, and beat his marker Matthew Sorinola before thrashing a rising shot past Hazard and into the far corner.

    Substitute Grady Diangana fired over from inside the box from Townsend’s 87th-minute cutback as Albion went in search of a third goal.

    That came in the first minute of stoppage time as Wallace’s low shot was saved by Hazard, who could not hold onto the ball, and Fellows followed up to slot home.

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