WALES will return to action for the 2023 World Cup qualifiers next month.
Gemma Grainger has named a 23-man squad for matches against France and Kazakhstan with Newtown’s Carrie Jones and Ceri Holland qualifying for Wales through her Llanfyllin-born mother included.
The matches will see Helen Ward and Natasha Harding reach 100 caps for their countries.
Wales manager Gemma Grainger said: “They have worked their way through women’s football from the amateur side and the lack of full-time opportunities into the professional game.
“It’s a real honor for both players and proof of their resilience and determination to play at this level now.”
Ward, who represented England at under-23 level before switching international allegiance, played for Arsenal, Chelsea and Reading and returned to first club Watford in 2017.
Grainger said: “As a club coach in England I have followed Helen’s career and she fits perfectly into the WSL Hall of Fame – the clubs she has represented over the years. and now at his home club.
Ceri Holland of Wales (right).
“His career has spanned a long time, but what’s constant is Helen’s speed, her quality to finish in the box and her commitment to being the best she can be.
“She took the time to have children and to come back to this level is a huge inspiration for a lot of people. She is a bit of a pioneer for this and has shown that it is possible.
Harding has been in exceptional form for Reading and was named WSL Team of the Week on Monday.
Grainger said: “Tash is a prankster, a bundle of energy and probably has a career in stand-up when she decides to finish playing.
“But Tash has a good balance between the serious side and his role as a leader and the pleasant side. She’s a fierce competitor with a winning mentality.
Wales resume World Cup qualifying five points behind Group I leaders France and two behind third-placed Slovenia.
Grainger’s side suffered their first defeat in November when France sealed a 2-0 victory after Kayleigh Green was sent off and Fishlock shook the seconds before Selma Bacha’s last breath.
“We were one goal wide from equalizing against France with 10 players and we have to remember that,” Grainger said. “It’s the perfect time to build on the momentum of success for the men’s team.”
Wales squad: L O’Sullivan (Cardiff), O Clark (Coventry), P Soper (Plymouth, on loan from Chelsea), R Roberts (Liverpool), J Green (Tottenham), H Ladd (Man Utd), G Evans (Reading), R Rowe (Reading), S Ingle (Chelsea), L Woodham (Reading), A Filbey (Charlton), A James (Orlando), C Williams (Man Utd), C Estcourt (Coventry), J Fishlock (OL Reign), C Jones (Man Utd), F Morgan (Bristol City), M Wynne (Charlton), K Green (Brighton), E Hughes (Charlton), H Ward (Watford), N Harding (Reading), C Holland (Liverpool), C Bull (Bristol City), G Walters (Sheff Utd), M Rogers (Watford, on loan from Tottenham).