Fran Kirby and Nikita Parris named in England Women's 23-strong Euro 2017 squad

Four players will make their tournament debuts for England in this summer's tournament 

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Fran Kirby vowed to repay Mark Sampson's faith as her recovery from a long-term knee injury received the perfect boost with a Euro 2017 call-up.

The Chelsea Ladies striker, who made such an impact with England in her early games that Sampson nicknamed her 'Mini Messi', has been out of action since the start of last summer.

Only in the past fortnight has the 23-year-old returned to action, scoring hat-tricks in a pair of matches for Chelsea's development team.

England manager Sampson had no doubt he wanted Kirby in his squad for the tournament in Holland, which begins for the Lionesses with an eye-catching clash against Scotland in Utrecht on July 19.

The long gap between squad announcement and travel to the tournament means Kirby has plenty of time to regain match fitness.

"It's been a really frustrating year so far and to be able to be in the Euros squad is a huge pride for me and huge relief and something I'm really excited about," Kirby told Press Association Sport.

"I knew I was going to be able to be fit around the Euros time. Mark's shown great belief in me. I always knew he believed in me as a player and now I've got to repay him at the Euros.

"I'm looking forward to getting back on the pitch and playing again, scoring goals and creating goals.

"I've missed it, it's been horrible. I've been playing the last two weeks for the development team and scoring goals, and I still get the same buzz I would if I was scoring at major tournaments."

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Chelsea striker Kirby has sealed her place in the squad (Getty)

The former Reading forward, who joined Chelsea after the 2015 World Cup, has been keeping a close eye on England's performances during her absence, and she made the final cut ahead of players including her Blues strike partner Eni Aluko.

"We have the capability to beat anyone, and I think we do have the quality in this squad to go and win the Euros," Kirby said.

Sampson has insisted for months that England are potential champions, and feels his players are catching up in that sense.

England will also tackle Spain and Portugal in the group stage, but the all-British clash to open the tournament gives preparations that extra edge.

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Sampson insists his side can win the tournament (Getty)

Sampson said: "We can't wait to get stuck into Scotland."

England have friendlies against Italy on Friday and Austria next Monday, before the players return to their clubs. They then meet up on June 5 to begin their tournament preparation.

The England manager announced his squad at a press conference held at St George's Park, the Football Association's Midlands base.

He cited last month's SheBelieves Cup victory over World Cup winners the United States as a key point in England's development, in terms of beating the very best sides.

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England memorably beat the US in the SheBelives Cup (Getty)

"We were fed up of playing well and not winning matches and we had to get over the line against America," Sampson said.

"So to get over the line against the US, in the US, was obviously a big moment for us.

"I think the biggest thing it has done is enhance the players' belief. We believe completely in our players and I think the players are growing in belief that they can win the big games. They can look back on that experience in the summer when those type of games are happening, and they know what it takes."

Chelsea's Gilly Flaherty, Claire Rafferty, Gemma Davison, Katie Chapman and Aluko missed out on the 23-player squad, which features eight players from Women's Super League champions Manchester City Women, headed by captain Steph Houghton.

Sampson's party includes three from Chelsea - midfielder Millie Bright, playmaker Karen Carney and Kirby - plus three from Liverpool, including former skipper Casey Stoney.

Four players have made the cut for a major tournament for the first time: Bright, along with Manchester City's Demi Stokes, Izzy Christiansen and Nikita Parris.

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