5 talking points ahead of England’s Arnold Clark Cup campaign

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England start their fixtures for 2023 with the Arnold Clark Cup, playing the first of their three matches when they face South Korea in Milton Keynes on Thursday.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the talking points as Sarina Wiegman’s European champions head into the round-robin competition.

Still unbeaten

Sarina Wiegman celebrates after her Engladn side won Euro 2022 (Nick Potts/PA).
England remain unbeaten under Sarina Wiegman (Nick Potts/PA)

Defending champions

England with the Arnold Clark Cup last year (Nick Potts/PA).
England with the Arnold Clark Cup last year (Nick Potts/PA)

Notable returns

Williamson (right) during a training session at St George’s Park (Mike Egerton/PA).
Williamson (right) returns after missing England’s last four matches (Mike Egerton/PA)

Late inclusion for Nobbs but no England

Jordan Nobbs, who moved from Arsenal to Aston Villa in January and is eyeing the summer’s World Cup after missing both the last edition and Euro 2022 following injuries, was initially left out of this Arnold Clark Cup squad. But the 30-year-old midfielder was subsequently brought in by Wiegman at the weekend as Fran Kirby withdrew due to a knee issue – and Nobbs looked in the mood to impress on Sunday as she notched a hat-trick in Villa’s 6-2 win at Brighton. There is no place for Bethany England despite scoring goals since her January move from Chelsea to Tottenham, and fellow Euros-winning forward Nikita Parris has also been omitted. Beth Mead is out due to the ACL injury she suffered in November.

The opposition

Last year’s Arnold Clark Cup pitted England, currently fourth in FIFA’s world rankings, against three other top-10 teams. This time they take on sides in a slightly lower bracket, with South Korea, Italy and Belgium lying 15th, 17th and 20th respectively. South Korea, managed by Englishman Colin Bell, were runners-up at last year’s Asian Cup, while Italy made a Euro 2022 group-stage exit and Belgium reached the quarter-finals.

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