'Too early' to prepare for World Cup without Mead

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Leah WilliamsonLeah Williamson has won 39 caps for England

Captain Leah Williamson returns to Sarina Wiegman's England squad as they look to retain the Arnold Clark Cup later in February.

The Arsenal defender missed November's fixtures with Japan and Norway due to injury but is included along with uncapped goalkeeper Emily Ramsey.

The Lionesses play South Korea in Milton Keynes on 16 February and Italy in Coventry on 19 February.

Their concluding fixture is against Belgium in Bristol on 22 February.

England finished ahead of Spain, Canada and Germany to win the round-robin competition in 2022.

Injured Arsenal forward Beth Mead is among those to miss out on this year's 26-player squad but Jess Park, who scored 79 seconds into her debut against Japan, is included.

There is also a recall for Manchester City midfielder Laura Coombs, who last featured for the Lionesses in November 2020.

But there is no place among the forwards for Manchester United's Nikita Parris, nor Bethany England following her January switch from Chelsea to Tottenham.

Midfielder Jordan Nobbs, who moved from Arsenal to Aston Villa last month, has also been left out along with Everton's Gabby George and Manchester City's Esme Morgan.

The tournament comes as Wiegman's side look to build on a historic 2022 - when they were crowned European champions - as they head to this summer's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand which is being held between 20 July-20 August.

England, who will travel down under as one of the favourites, will continue their preparations with a match against Brazil at Wembley on 6 April in the inaugural Uefa Women's Finalissima.

Full squad

Goalkeepers: Mary Earps, Sandy MacIver, Emily Ramsey, Ellie Roebuck.

Defenders: Millie Bright, Lucy Bronze, Jess Carter, Niamh Charles, Rachel Daly, Alex Greenwood, Maya Le Tissier, Leah Williamson, Lotte Wubben-Moy.

Midfielders: Laura Coombs, Fran Kirby, Georgia Stanway, Ella Toone, Keira Walsh, Katie Zelem.

Forwards: Lauren Hemp, Lauren James, Chloe Kelly, Jessica Park, Alessia Russo, Katie Robinson, Ebony Salmon.

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