Signeul in­sists she is not con­cerned by long list of Scot­land ab­sen­tees

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FINAL SAY -

SCOT­LAND head coach Anna Signeul says she is largely un­con­cerned about a spate of in­juries to key play­ers ahead of next month’s friendly against Bel­gium.

The game, in Leu­ven on April 11, is the sev­enth of ten prepa­ra­tion games ahead of Euro 2017. No fewer than eight play­ers, in­clud­ing Arse­nal mid­fielder Kim Lit­tle, were miss­ing from yes­ter­day’s 19-player squad. Signeul’s big­gest prob­lems are in de­fence. Three of her four cen­tral de­fend­ers – Rachel Cor­sie, Jen Beattie and Joelle Mur­ray – can­not be risked, while two full backs are also out. One of them, Arse­nal’s Emma Mitchell, is likely to be out for three or four months with a ham­string in­jury and could miss the Euros.

Celtic cap­tain Kelly Clark has been drafted into the squad de­spite not be­ing on Signeul’s short-list for the Euros. Two other un­capped cen­tral de­fend­ers, Vaila Bars­ley and So­phie Howard, are ex­pected to join her.

Eng­land-born Bars­ley, 29, plays in Swe­den with Eskil­stuna United and Ger­many-born Howard, 23, with Hof­fen­heim – but both are Scot­tish qual­i­fied.

Signeul ex­pressed frus­tra­tion that an un­named home na­tion failed to com­plete the re­quired pa­per­work for them to be in­cluded yes­ter­day.

“It’s go­ing to be re­solved,” she said. “But we’ve been wait­ing one and a half weeks for this pa­per­work and we’ve been chas­ing and chas­ing. It’s not hard.”

Nei­ther Wales nor North­ern Ire­land have a con­nec­tion with ei­ther of the cen­tral de­fend­ers.

When asked if she was con­cerned about the eight in­juries, Signeul said: “I’m only wor­ried about Emma Mitchell. All the oth­ers will be fine. It’s mostly small tears in the mus­cles.

“If this had been in June I would be con­cerned. Two or three weeks now and you can leave the in­juries to heal – then they have the whole of April and May to play games and get fit. This game is not a qual­i­fier – it’s a friendly. We have new play­ers we can look at.” 200 Ren­field Street, Glas­gow G2 3QB. email: [email protected]­herald.co.uk. Tel 0141 302 6590 Head of Sport Ste­wart Weir

Chelsea mid­fielder Erin Cuth­bert is not in the squad as she is ex­pected to cap­tain the Scot­land Un­der-19 team in their three Euro elite round matches.

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