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England’s Bronze ruled out of SheBelieves Cup with calf injury

Alessia Russo has been drafted into the squad to replace the defender, who will not be able to travel to the United States

England will have to do without star right-back Lucy Bronze at the SheBelieves Cup after the Lyon defender was ruled out with a calf injury. 

Bronze, 28, has been a fixture of the England squad since making her senior debut in 2013. 

She has gone on to rack up 79 caps for the Lionnesses, featuring at both the 2015 and 2019 World Cups. 

Bronze also played a big role in last year’s SheBelieves Cup, which England won with victories over Brazil and Japan while drawing with hosts United States. 

But this time round they will have to defend their title without the defensive star, who will not play any part in the invitational. 

“Disappointed not to be fit for camp,” Bronze lamented on Twitter.

“But a good opportunity to some new faces – good luck ladies. Haven’t missed a single camp and been present at every single game for the past five years. Gonna have massive FOMO [fear of missing out] next week.”

The FA also confirmed on Wednesday that Alessia Russo, a forward with the North Carolina Tar Heels, will take Bronze’s place in the squad. 

Bronze is one of several first-teamers that have been forced out of the running for England ahead of the March tournament, with the likes of Arsenal forward Beth Mead, goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, centre-back Aoife Mannion and Fran Kirby all previously withdrawn. 

Undaunted, however, coach Phil Neville hopes the Lionnesses put in a strong showing stateside, where they will take on Japan, Spain and the USWNT.  

“We have to start beating the USA and beating the top teams in the world consistently,” Neville told reporters upon announcing his squad in February.

“You can probably only judge when it comes to a major tournament and you start winning major tournaments like the USA have.

“We have just employed Dawn Scott, a fitness coach, who has been to the World Cup and won and been to Olympics Games and won and that is where you judge yourself, in the best moments and the best competitions, but along the way you have to experience what it takes to win.”

England begin their Shebelieves Cup campaign against the hosts in Orlando, Florida on March 5, before meeting Japan three days later in Harrison, New Jersey and closing out the tournament in Frisco, Texas against Spain.

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