Leicester City duo selected for England U23 squad

Leicester City flags are waved during a match
Leicester City flags are waved during a match (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Leicester City duo Missy Goodwin and Shannon O’Brien have been called up to the latest England U23 squad. The Foxes fan favourites join up with the Young Lionesses squad kicking off 2024, with two fixtures in Spain.

The selection comes as a reward for their fine Women’s Super League form, with both players enjoying a recent run in the first team. Both players offer exciting pace going forward, and have recently been utilised in Willie Kirk’s attacking formations.

Shannon O’Brien route to England U23

O’Brien is used mainly on the left of the midfield and pushes further forward for her WSL team. She joined Leicester City from her local side Coventry in 2021, after a spell with Aston Villa. In 2021, O’Brien shone in a Leicester side promoted to the WSL. After an injury filled 2023 ended with a torn quad muscle, and a long spell on the sidelines, she returned to the Leicester first team in January and has been much brighter.

O’Brien’s performances for Leicester have stood out, most recently with a brace in the 6-2 win against Birmingham in the Adobe Women’s FA Cup. With the 22 year-old managing to keep her place among a host of new signings, staying fit will be key for her to further progress and add to her league stats.

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Missy Goodwin route to England U23

Goodwin primarily operates on the right side of the midfield and has enjoyed playing in a front three at Leicester. She signed for the newly promoted Foxes in 2022, after a season at Aston Villa.

The 21-year-old has recently progressed to being a first team regular for Leicester City. Since the start of 2024 with regular playing time, Goodwin has one goal and two assists in four WSL appearances.

Goodwin is athletic and pacy physique. Combined with her combative and strong personality, she is a favourite among Leicester fans and will be hoping to stay fit and show her worth within the England setup.

Having represented Youth Lionesses at U17, U19, and now U23, Goodwin will be looking to continue to prove herself at this level.

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Foxes included in international set-up

Neither Goodwin or O’Brien were available for the last squad announced in 2023. They will be determined to get back with the international setup and show what they can do.

Sharing the Spain camp with the England senior side will also be great experience for the Young Lionesses. These youth players will be hoping to one day make that jump themselves and progress through the international pathway. This has most recently been seen with Jess Park and Grace Clinton. Previous players also include Ruby Mace and Katie Robinson.

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The camp will be a challenge for the squad as well, facing two strong European teams and a great opportunity for the recalled Leicester duo to prove their fitness and make their mark. The U23 squad went unbeaten in 2023.

It’s an exciting time for Leicester City as well. They will be hoping this encourages other young talent to begin their career at the club as opportunities on an international level are available.

What’s next?

Emma Coates’ U23 side face Spain on Thursday 22 February (11pm GMT) before taking on the Netherlands in a European League fixture on Monday 26 February (12pm GMT).

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