England: Hannah Hampton and Alessia Russo recalled for World Cup qualifiers

Alessia Russo running
Alessia Russo earned her only England cap against Spain in March 2020

Aston Villa goalkeeper Hannah Hampton and Manchester United forward Alessia Russo have been recalled to the England squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Northern Ireland and Latvia.

Steph Houghton is still injured, with Leah Williamson - who captained England in the Manchester City defender's absence in September - again included.

Manchester City's Ellie Roebuck and Lucy Bronze are also injured.

Williamson's Arsenal team-mate Jordan Nobbs has been left out of the squad.

Nobbs missed out on convincing victories against North Macedonia and Luxembourg in September's qualifiers because of an ankle injury, but has since returned for her club.

Asked how close Nobbs was to selection, England manager Sarina Wiegman said: "Of course, we follow her. She hasn't played that many minutes.

"We keep a very close eye on her. We know her history. She's pretty close, she just needs to get more minutes."

Racing Louisville forward Ebony Salmon is left out, while Manchester City midfielder Keira Walsh returns following her injury comeback.

"I've spoken with Ebony [Salmon]," said Wiegman. "It's obvious she has a lot of players that compete with her. I give preference now to the other players in the squad.

"She is a young player so is still growing. For me, the other ones were a step ahead of her."

Manchester City forward Ellen White is also involved as she bids to break Kelly Smith's women's record of 46 goals for England - a target of which she is currently three short.

England are top of their 2023 World Cup qualifying group, having beaten North Macedonia 8-0 in Southampton before a 10-0 victory in Luxembourg.

The Lionesses will play their first competitive game at Wembley when they face Northern Ireland on 23 October, before travelling to Latvia on Tuesday 26 October.

'Good goalkeepers in England is a luxury'

Sandy MacIver, Mary Earps and Hannah Hampton
Sandy MacIver (left) and Mary Earps (centre) retained their place, while Hannah Hampton (right) earned a first call-up under Sarina Wiegman

The continued absence of Roebuck means the battle to become England's second choice goalkeeper continues.

Mary Earps, of Manchester United, got the chance to stake a claim in the last round of qualifiers and promising 20-year-old Hampton - who has replaced Chelsea's Carly Telford in the squad - is hoping for an opportunity this time.

Wiegman was at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday to watch Earps and said she "enjoyed" her performance in the draw with rivals Manchester City.

"What I see is that Mary Earps is in a good spot. She is doing well and feels well, you can tell," added Wiegman. "She had a good game [against Manchester City] and I really enjoy that she is growing."

On Hampton's inclusion, Wiegman added: "We have pretty good goalkeepers in England which is a luxury. When you are very comfortable with your feet that helps the build-up.

"I think the first task a goalkeeper has is preventing goals. Then the rest comes next.

"[Hampton] is very athletic. She's a very natural goalkeeper. I'm really excited to bring her in and start working with her and see how she relates with the other goalkeepers."

England squad in full

Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Manchester United), Hannah Hampton (Aston Villa), Sandy MacIver (Everton).

Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Jessica Carter (Chelsea), Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal).

Midfielders: Jill Scott (Manchester City), Lucy Staniforth (Manchester United), Georgia Stanway (Manchester City), Keira Walsh (Manchester City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Katie Zelem (Manchester United).

Forwards: Bethany England (Chelsea), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Nikita Parris (Arsenal), Alessia Russo (Manchester United), Ella Toone (Manchester United), Ellen White (Manchester City).