England Women

Chelsea's Beth England & Niamh Charles withdraw from England squad due to Covid-19

Ali Rampling
Beth England has been ruled out
Beth England has been ruled out / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages
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Chelsea's Beth England and Niamh Charles have withdrawn from the England squad after the both testing positive for Covid-19.

England take on North Macedonia in Skopje on Friday 8 April, before heading to Windsor Park to face Northern Ireland on Tuesday 12 April.

England boss Sarina Wiegman has opted to not call up replacements for the pair ahead of the Lionesses' World Cup qualifier against North Macedonia.

Both players were asymptomatic following the required pre-camp testing, and have not come into contact with teammates at St George’s Park.

Assistant coach Arjan Veurink also tested positive prior to joining up with the squad. All three could yet link up with the squad ahead of the clash with Northern Ireland should they test negative in the meantime.

Charles and England are the latest Covid-19 cases in the Chelsea camp after their teammate Maren Mjelde was ruled out of Norway's World Cup qualifier against Kosovo on Thursday.

England had been in fine form for Chelsea heading into April's international break, enjoying a run of starts and netting six goals in her last three appearances. The forward has eight goals in 15 outings for her country, but missed February's Arnold Clark Cup triumph due to injury.

Charles has earned two England caps since making her debut in 2021, and although she was named in the squad for the Arnold Clark Cup, she did not feature across the three matches.

Wiegman has named a near identical squad to the one that lifted the Arnold Clark Cup for the friendlies against North Macedonia and Northern Ireland, with Fran Kirby the only player included in February's camp not to be called up due to illness.

England have three more friendlies planned before getting their Euro 2022 campaign gets underway at Old Trafford in July. The Lionesses will host Belgium at Molineux on 16 June and will welcome Wiegman's former side the Netherlands to Elland Road on 24 June. One final friendly abroad against an as yet unnamed opponent is also planned.

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