Prince William, David Beckham, Emma Watson announce England squad for Women's World Cup
Prince William, David Beckham and Emma Watson were among the famous faces involved as England named their squad for the Women's World Cup.
The announcement saw each player receive a personalised video message from a public figure, informing them that they had been selected by manager Phil Neville for the tournament in France this summer.
The Duke of Cambridge revealed that Lionesses captain Steph Houghton had made the 23-woman squad.
Manchester City defender Houghton is one of 12 players in the squad who were involved four years ago as the country reached the semifinals for the first time in their history.
Joining Houghton from the 2015 squad are Karen Bardsley, Carly Telford, Alex Greenwood, Jade Moore, Jill Scott, Toni Duggan, Ellen White, Karen Carney and Jodie Taylor, as well as Ballon d'Or nominees Fran Kirby and Lucy Bronze.
There are eight players included from City's double winning team, including Nikita Parris, Keira Walsh, Demi Stokes, Abbie McManus and Georgia Stanway, who could all make their World Cup debuts.
Stanway, who was awarded PFA young player of the year this season and was named player of the match as City won the FA Cup last weekend, was announced by Raheem Sterling, the City star who won the men's equivalent of the PFA award last month.
"We've got the right balance in the squad, but there's something about those younger players," Neville told a news conference. "They're fearless, Georgia Stanway is fearless. But the experience is going to be vital in moments in the World Cup. First game against Scotland is a big game emotionally where you need big players who have been there and done it, and I've got the nice balance in the squad of both."
Women's Super League champions Arsenal are represented by Beth Mead and Leah Williamson. They have also been called up to a World Cup squad for the first time, along with Houston's Rachel Daly, Chelsea's Millie Bright, Birmingham's Lucy Staniworth and Wolfsburg goalkeeper Mary Earps.
There is no place for England vice-captain Jordan Nobbs after her World Cup hopes were hit by a serious knee injury last November.
Other celebrities involved in the announcement were James Corden, Ellie Goulding, Olly Murs and England men's goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, as well as former women's internationals Alex Scott, Rachel Yankey and Kelly Smith and former men's strikers Ian Wright and Alan Shearer.
Neville's side open their World Cup campaign against Scotland on Sunday June 9. They are joined in Group D by Argentina and 2015 runners-up Japan, who beat England in the semifinals in Canada four years ago.
England are ranked third in the FIFA world rankings and beat Brazil and Japan while drawing with the United States to win the SheBelieves Cup earlier this year.
They will have two warm-up fixtures before they travel to France, with England playing Denmark on May 25 before they face New Zealand on June 1.
England Women's World Cup squad:
Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Carly Telford (Chelsea), Mary Earps (Wolfsburg)
Defenders: Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Rachel Daly (Houston), Alex Greenwood (Manchester United), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Millie Bright (Chelsea), Abbie McManus (Manchester City), Leah Williamson
Midfielders: Karen Carney (Chelsea), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Keira Walsh (Manchester City), Jade Moore (Reading), Georgia Stanway (Manchester City), Lucy Staniworth (Birminham City)
Forwards: Toni Duggan (Barcelona), Ellen White (Birmingham), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Nikita Parris (Manchester City), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Jodie Taylor (Reign FC)