Aviva Stadium, Ireland 9th April 2024: Sarina Wiegman, England head coach, during the UEFA Women's EURO 2025 qualifier between Republic of Ireland and England at Aviva Stadium, Dublin - Image by Jayde Chamberlain/SPP

England boss Wiegman confirms forward James to miss France double-header

England head coach Sarina Wiegman has confirmed the news that forward Lauren James will miss the nation’s UEFA Women’s EURO 2025 qualifying double-header against France.

The Lionesses face Les Bleues in back-to-back games at St James’ Park on Friday evening and in Saint-Étienne on Tuesday.

When speaking to the media ahead of the first game in Newcastle, England boss Wiegman confirmed the news that forward James will be unavailable for selection until the July international window.

“Not everyone is available for selection,” Wiegman said. “LJ [Lauren James] didn’t make it, so she is unavailable for tomorrow and Jess Naz will be added to the group.

“Lauren already had a foot problem at club. She came in and we hoped that we could build her to tomorrow but it is just too early. Unfortunately, she can’t stay with us, she is going to get prepared for the July window.”

Wiegman is yet to face France in her spell as England head coach and she is excited for what will be a very competitive contest.

She said “It’s going to be a difficult game because they’re a very good opponent. It’s the first time that we’ve played them since I became head coach, so I’m actually really excited about it.

“I think it’s going to be very competitive, a hard game both for them and for us.”

After recently playing at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, England will now feature at another North East venue in St James’ Park. Wiegman is looking forward to experiencing one of the most famous arenas in world football.

She said “It’s very nice to be in this area again, we’ve been here twice when we played at Sunderland and now, we can play at Newcastle. I’ve never been in that stadium before but all I hear is that it’s an incredible stadium. It’s almost sold out, so that’ll be great too for the fans to show up and support us again.

“Of course, I have heard that a lot of fans showed up when the [club] team played in the stadium. That’s really nice and it’s what we hope for in every place in England and every place in the world. We want to grow the game, go to the next level and for everyone to enjoy it.”

England’s latest UEFA Women’s EURO 2025 qualifier against France takes place at St James’ Park in Newcastle at 8pm on Friday evening.

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