Western Mail

Skipper Ingle is on course for century of caps as Wales return


WALES manager Jayne Ludlow has named a squad of 27 players in preparatio­n for her side’s first competitiv­e game in 10 months.

The coronaviru­s pandemic caused three of Wales’ four remaining women’s European Championsh­ip qualifiers in April and June to be postponed, with the tournament itself also being pushed back to 2022, with the men’s Euros being postponed from this summer to 2021.

Wales Women are now preparing to face World Cup quarterfin­alists Norway as their qualifying campaign resumes on Tuesday, September 22, in Oslo.

Captain Sophie Ingle is expected to become Welsh football’s third centurion by winning her 100th cap in Oslo, which will add to an already successful year for the Barry-born skipper after winning three domestic trophies with Chelsea last term.

Ludlow, who will select 20 players to travel to Norway, welcomes a host of players back into the internatio­nal set-up following the team’s last outing in March this year – a 2-0 win in a friendly against Estonia.

Wales’ most-capped footballer Jess Fishlock returns to the squad following an 18-month absence due to a knee injury, while Everton’s Elise Hughes and Bristol City’s Gemma Evans also return after injury.

Poppy Soper, Cerys Jones and Bethan McGowan, who have all represente­d Wales’ age groups over the last year, have received their first senior side call-ups.

Carrie Jones, who made her senior debut last year aged 15, links up with Wales having joined Manchester United’s academy this summer.

Bristol’s Megan Wynne, who made a permanent move to the Robins this summer after a loan from Tottenham, is out of the squad after sustaining an ACL injury during pre-season, while Loren Dykes is unavailabl­e for selection due to personal reasons.

Bidding to make it to their first major tournament, Ludlow’s Wales are unbeaten halfway through their fixtures, and currently sit in second place: four points behind the Norwegians with four games remaining.

The nine group winners and the three best runners-up (not counting results against the sixth-placed team) qualify directly for the final tournament, which are being staged in England, while the remaining six runners-up advance to the play-offs.

Wales: Laura O’Sullivan (Cardiff City Ladies), Claire Skinner (Cardiff City Women), Poppy Soper (Plymouth Argyle), Jess Fishlock (Reading - on loan from OL Reign), Sophie Ingle (Chelsea), Hayley Ladd (Manchester United), Gemma Evans (Bristol City), Rhiannon Roberts (Liverpool), Anna Filbey (Tottenham Hotspur), Angharad James (Reading), Nadia Lawrence (Cardiff City Ladies), Rachel Rowe (Reading), Natasha Harding (Reading), Elise Hughes (Everton), Helen Ward (Watford), Kayleigh Green (Brighton & Hove Albion), Josie Green (Tottenham Hotspur), Ffion Morgan (Crystal Palace), Charlie Estcourt (London Bees), Lily Woodham (Reading), Maria Francis-Jones (Cardiff City Ladies), Kylie Nolan (Cardiff City Ladies), Carrie Jones (Manchester United), Cerys Jones (Brighton), Georgia Walters (Blackburn), Chloe Williams (Manchester United), Bethan McGowan (unattached).

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