Five Arsenal players have been included in the England squad for the upcoming Cyprus Cup.

Mark Sampson has selected a 23 player squad for the Cyprus Cup tournament played from the 4th-11th of March.

Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Siobhan Chamberlain (Arsenal), Carly Telford (Notts County).

Defenders: Laura Bassett (Notts County), Gemma Bonner (Liverpool), Alex Greenwood (Notts County), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Claire Rafferty (Chelsea), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Casey Stoney (Arsenal).

Midfielders: Karen Carney (Birmingham City), Katie Chapman (Chelsea), Jade Moore (Birmingham City), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jo Potter (Birmingham City), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Fara Williams (Liverpool).

Forwards: Eni Aluko (Chelsea), Jess Clarke (Notts County), Fran Kirby (Reading), Lianne Sanderson (Arsenal), Jodie Taylor (Portland Thorns).

There is one change from the squad that was selected against the USA with Anita Asante making way for Claire Rafferty.

It looks like Asante is a victim of England’s willingness to use players outside of the FIFA reserved dates. She missed the England v USA game that was played on the 13th February as the FIFA reserved dates were from the 7th to 12th.

She was already back with her team Malmo in Sweden on game day.

This time, again, England are going early on the 26th and she cannot be released before the official FIFA release date (i.e. 2nd March).

Tony Duggan and Lucy Bronze, both potential starters, are currently injured.

The squad is structured as follows:

Three goalkeepers, eight defenders, seven midfielders and five forwards.

Most of the players can play in two, three or even four different positions and this is very helpful as various tactics have been used in the past like 4-3-3 and more recently with a 4-4-2 diamond used against Sweden, Germany and the 4-4-2 flat against the USA.

23 players will be selected for the World Cup, so the squad is likely to be similar to the Cyprus Cup one.

So who is likely to get on the plane to the World Cup in Canada?

There are three categories of players used in tournament football:

  1. A) the regulars who are guaranteed a start as the manager has put his trust in those players
  2. B) those who are competing for places and are likely to be used as a sub or when the manager decides to rotate the squad during the tournament
  3. C) the back-up players who are there to make up the numbers, are unlikely to play at all in the tournament but must be ready to come on the pitch at any time should circumstances call them into action.
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The biggest problem for any manager is to select the players with the right personality for categories B & C as well as the right football qualities.

History has shown time and time again in previous World Cups (mainly in the men’s game) that a squad that is not united will lead to failure.

Here is who I think could/will be on the plane to Canada next Summer.

Note that hierarchy can change due to loss of form or long term injury for players in the B category, C are fringe players, players in the A category, at the moment, are 99% guaranteed to be on the plane unless they are injured or do something really stupid.

Category A 14

GK Karen Bardsley, Siobhan Chamberlain.

DF  Alex Scott, Stephanie Houghton, Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes.

MF Fara Williams, Karen Carney, Jordan Nobbs, Jill Scott.

FW Toni Duggan, Eni Aluko,  Lianne Sanderson, Fran Kirby.

Category B  7

(likely to be on the plane )

GK Carly Telford.

DF Laura Bassett, Alex Greenwood.

MF Jade Moore, Jo Potter.

FW Jodie Taylor, Jess Clarke.

Category C 8

(likely to be  fringe players in the squad if selected or move to category A or B in the next four months)

GK Elizabeth Durack.

DF Gemma Bonner, Sophie Bradley*, Casey Stoney, Claire Rafferty.

MF Anita Asante, Katie Chapman.

FW Ellen White*, Natasha Dowie.

*Bradley and White suffered ACL injuries so could be classed as B category players, but they have to prove in the next 6 months that they are better than those currently selected

We can also add a category D the outside bets ie players who did not get a game this season but could come and grab a place in the squad if they perform well next four months:

GK Rebecca Spencer, Mary Earps.

DF Dunia Susi, Jemma Rose.

MF Isobel Christiansen, Leah Williamson.

FW Danielle Carter, Nikita Parris.

Football is a funny sport so I would not be surprised if one or two players from the category D overtake a player from Category B and two or three from category C also dislodge the category B players.