Burnley’s Rachel Brown back in England squad ahead of Euro finals

INTERNATIONAL CALL: Rachel Brown

INTERNATIONAL CALL: Rachel Brown

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BURNLEY’S Rachel Brown is back in the England fold after injury.

The newly-wed Everton keeper was named on Monday in Hope Powell’s squad for the forthcoming Cyprus Cup campaign.

The Three Lionesses will take on Italy on March 6th, Scotland two days later, then New Zealand on the 11th in the group stage of the annual friendly tournament.

As England prepare for the Euro 2013 Championship Finals in Sweden in July - where they have been drawn to face France, Russia and Spain, competition is fierce to make it on the plane.

Brown and Kelly Smith both missed the 2-2 friendly draw in France in October last time out, and the pair return, along with Jess Clarke and Rachel Unitt, who are both in line to make their first England appearances for almost a year.

Arsenal youngster Jordan Nobbs could make her senior bow.

Powell said of her squad: “If I compare it to five years ago, we’ve got a little bit more strength, a little bit more depth.

“The competition is fierce, which for me is a good thing. For the players it is a good thing as well.

“It means they work that much harder, they’re that much more diligent, they want to play, and selection is not easy.

“So the depth is good. We’ve got a good mix of experience and young talent coming through.

“But the most important thing is: when you are in the tournament it’s got to count for something, so when the tournament begins is really when we can ascertain and measure whether those players are up to the mark.”

Brown has already represented England at Euro 2005 and 2009 - reaching the final four years ago - as well as the World Cups in 2007 and 2011, and is eager to help the squad win some silverware to cap the progress made in her time with the national squad, since her debut 16 years ago this month.

She said recently: “From an England perspective, we’ve become regular qualifiers for tournaments, and we’d like to go that step further now.

“We’ve been to a Euro final in 2009, but it’s an ambition of mine and the rest of the girls to put something on paper and win something.

“That would top off a memorable career for me.

“I wasn’t sure after the Olympics if I would have the drive to carry on with England - I could have finished on a high.

“But I feel we can still fight for honours.

“It was disappointing when we were knocked out of the Olympics as we felt we could have gone further, but I still want to achieve things.”

The squad for the Cyprus Cup is: Goalkeepers - Karen Bardsley, Rachel Brown, Siobhan Chamberlain; Defenders - Laura Bassett, Sophie Bradley, Steph Houghton, Alex Scott, Casey Stoney, Dunia Susi, Rachel Unitt; Midfielders - Anita Asante, Karen Carney, Jess Clarke, Jordan Nobbs, Jill Scott, Fara Williams, Rachel Yankey; Forwards - Eniola Aluko, Toni Duggan, Kelly Smith, Ellen White, Rachel Williams.