Faye White named in England Women's World Cup squad

England women's captain Faye White has made coach Hope Powell's squad for this month's World Cup in Germany despite a recent knee injury.

Everton's Fara Williams also suffered a knee injury in April, but she too was among the 21 players selected.

White and Williams played at the 2007 World Cup in China, but Powell believes the current squad is the best ever.

"Women's football in England has definitely improved and we're in a better place now than we've ever been."

Such was the quality at Powell's disposal, that there was no place in the squad for experienced duo Sue Smith and Lindsay Johnson.

While the inclusion of Sophie Bradley, Dunia Susi, Claire Rafferty, Ellen White and Steph Houghton means they will all be representing England at a major championship for the first time.

"It was a very challenging decision [to pick the squad] but a challenging decision in a positive way," Powell said.

"I have got a really talented bunch of players to choose from and this choice has been made even more difficult in recent times by the emergence of some of the younger players.

"They have come to the fore and have done really well. They deserve an opportunity to be part of something really great, which is what this World Cup will be," she added.

For Fara Williams, her selection in the squad came as a welcome relief.

"I was the most nervous I have ever been when it comes to selection because I was thinking whether [Hope Powell] would consider it a risk to take me or not. I certainly don't think it is a risk, so I was more than pleased to say the least," she told BBC Sport.

Williams has been recovering from her injury at Bisham Abbey, training alongside Faye White, and she's more than confident that both she and the England skipper will be fit and ready to play in time for England's first World Cup match against Mexico on 27 June.

"I'll be joining in the full training session on Monday I won't be resting.

"I'm not sure where Faye is at [with her injury] but I'm sure she'll be looking to start that first game. She is our leader, she is our captain and we all want her to be there," Williams added.

England finished runners up in their last appearance at a major tournament, when they lost to Germany in the final of the 2009 European Championship.

Recent victories over Sweden and the number one side in the world, the United States, means they are among the favourites for the World Cup.

England qualified for the finals after topping their qualification group unbeaten and defeating Switzerland in a two-legged play-off last year.

After their opening match of the 2011 tournament against Mexico, Powell's side will face New Zealand and Japan in their other group fixtures.

England squad in full: Karen Bardsley (New Jersey Sky Blue), Rachel Brown (Everton), Siobhan Chamberlain (Bristol Academy); Sophie Bradley (Lincoln Ladies), Claire Rafferty (Chelsea), Alex Scott (Boston Breakers), Casey Stoney (Lincoln Ladies), Dunia Susi (Birmingham City), Rachel Unitt (Everton), Faye White (Arsenal); Anita Asante (New Jersey Sky Blue), Laura Bassett (Birmingham City), Jess Clarke (Lincoln Ladies), Steph Houghton (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Everton), Fara Williams (Everton), Rachel Yankey (Arsenal); Eniola Aluko (New Jersey Sky Blue), Karen Carney (Birmingham City), Kelly Smith (Boston Breakers), Ellen White (Arsenal).