Manchester United forward Lauren James has the right to be “frustrated” at having been left out of latest England Women’s squad, according to her club boss Casey Stoney.
James was omitted on Tuesday as interim Lionesses boss Hege Riise named a 24-player squad for friendly matches against France and Canada later this month.
The 19-year-old was called up to Phil Neville’s camp last year but did not get the chance to earn an international debut, with England’s matches cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.
James returned in March from more than a month out injured and scored in the second game of her comeback as United beat West Ham last weekend.
“She’s only been back for two games but having said that there’s quite a few players in that squad that haven’t played any games for a long time,” Stoney said.
“She’s played well in the last two – I’ve just said to her, ‘you keep doing what you’re doing, and you leave people no choice but to pick you.’
“I think there’s also got to be an element of consistency – it’s got to be more than two games. But I think her argument and many players’ argument would be that there are players in that squad that haven’t played since December.
“So there will be a frustration there, but it’s not easy for the people that are in charge there. They’re in temporarily, they won’t know a lot about the players, they won’t have seen a lot of the players.”
Stoney’s side go into Sunday’s trip to Brighton in third place, nine points behind Women’s Super League leaders Chelsea, who are two points clear of Manchester City.
Another English player who has impressed for United this campaign but failed to make the Lionesses squad was goalkeeper Mary Earps, and Stoney believes the fact that Riise is also preparing to take charge of a Great Britain Olympic team later this summer could be counting against her players.
“Same with the goalkeeping situation, Mary Earps is playing every game, some of the others aren’t,” Stoney said.
“I can imagine as a player it will be frustrating because you’ll be going ‘OK, even if I’m in form, or I am playing, there’s players that aren’t, and are in the squad.’
“So it makes difficult for players, but I know it’s not an easy job as a head coach to pick a squad either, and also, we can’t hide away from the fact that they’re preparing for the Olympics, realistically.”
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