The English national coach Sarina Wiegman does not look too far ahead with the condition of Beth Mead

England coach Sarina Wiegman has stressed that she does not want to “push” regarding Beth Mead’s chances of making it to the World Cup this summer.

Wiegman has put together a squad for the Arnold Clark Cup on Tuesday, missing Mead, the Golden Boot winner and player of the tournament from the Lionesses’ victorious Euro 2022 campaign, who is recovering from an ACL injury sustained in November.

Last month, the Arsenal player posted a tribute to her mother June on social media following her death from ovarian cancer.

Wiegman was asked at a press conference after the team’s announcement if she had spoken to Mead and if she had any chance of being fit for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, which kicks off on July 20.

She said: “Of course she had other issues besides her knee. Her private situation was very difficult.

‘Of course I have contact with her. I left the knee situation for what it was so far, I just wanted her to be okay and get a little used to her new situation with the sadness she had around her.

“She needs to start her recovery and she is doing that. She told me she is fine. Of course she really wants to make it.

Mead plays for Arsenal (Zac Goodwin/PA).

Mead is recovering from an ACL injury suffered while playing for Arsenal (Zac Goodwin)

“But first arrange, we will contact you, and then we will see from there. For now, I’m not going to insist on that.”

When then asked if she planned without Mead, who was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in December, Wiegman said: “It’s a little early to say. But I don’t want to force it.

“She’s been through so many things in her life that I don’t want to push it right now, and we’ll see how her recovery and rehab goes, and then we’ll sit down at some point, which will be very soon, and then see we look a little to the future.

“But I don’t want to look too far ahead right now, because she’s just coming out of a really tough situation.”

Other players not featured in the 26-man squad include striker Bethany England and midfielder Jordan Nobbs, who moved from Chelsea to Tottenham and Arsenal to Aston Villa in January respectively.

Wiegman said: “They compete for selection. I think they are in a good place, they have moved to clubs where they play a lot now, and they can improve their game.

“But what your competitors do, and what choice I make, is not in your control, along with my coaching staff, and that is the situation they are in now.

“It is good that they get minutes, that improves their position, but it is no guarantee that you will be selected.”

Manchester United’s Alessia Russo has joined the squad a week after being the subject of a world record bid from Arsenal that was rejected.

And Wiegman said: “I went to the game (United’s 0-0 draw with Everton) last Sunday and I don’t think she was distracted (by the transfer situation). I think she was just doing her job and was very motivated to play a good game.”

England captain and Arsenal defender Leah Williamson is among a group of players back from injury, while Manchester City midfielder Laura Coombs returns with two caps having last been involved in November 2020 and last played for the Lionesses in 2015.

Unrestricted Emily Ramsey, on loan at Everton from Manchester United, has also been included as one of four goalkeepers in the squad and Chelsea defender Jess Carter has been recalled. United’s Nikita Parris, Everton’s Gabby George and City’s Esme Morgan, who has been injured, are others left out.

Wiegman’s side, who won the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup a year ago, will open this campaign and their games for 2023 by playing against South Korea for a week on Thursday in Milton Keynes. Three days later they meet Italy in Coventry, followed three days later by Belgium in Bristol.

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