Manchester United captain Katie Zelem has withdrawn from England’s September training camp after testing positive for coronavirus.
Zelem, who will now self-isolate in accordance with Covid-19 protocols, was one of 10 uncapped players named by Phil Neville in the Lionesses squad for next month's friendly against Germany on October 27. There are no plans to call up a replacement for the midfielder at this time, the Football Association has said.
England’s preparations were dealt another blow on Wednesday after Lucy Bronze was also forced to pull out of the training camp after picking up an injury in Manchester City’s match against Brighton last weekend. It was the 28-year-old’s first start for the Women’s Super League side since returning from European champions Lyon this summer.
Bronze will be replaced by Everton’s Isobel Christiansen, who was last capped for England in March last year as a member of the Lionesses’ SheBelieves Cup winning squad in the US, before undergoing ankle surgery which ruled her out of last summer’s World Cup in France.
Christiansen returned to the WSL in December 2019, signing an 18-month contract with Everton following a season with Bronze at Lyon.
The rest of the England squad will continue their training at the side’s Burton base at St George’s Park, which will include an 11v11 training game behind closed doors on Friday.
Due to quarantine restrictions in place from certain countries, Lyon’s Jodie Taylor and Nikita Parris were among the small number of players who were not included in Neville’s squad, which is his first since announcing his departure as England manager in July 2021.
The 43-year-old, who will be replaced by Dutchwoman Sarina Wiegman after the Olympic Games next summer, previously said the inclusion of ten uncapped players was a “critical” moment in the evolution of the women’s national team, which will look to target the home Euros in 2022 and the 2023 World Cup.