Lucy Staniforth in action earlier this season. Picture Credit: Iam Burn

Sunderland Ladies captain Lucy Staniforth has been rewarded for her fine form this season with a first call up to the England senior side to take on Russia in a World Cup qualifier on Friday.

Staniforth scored ten times for Sunderland this season as they finished seventh in the Women’s Super League.

She tweeted in response to her call up: “So proud, an honour to represent my country! Buzzing to be back involved.”

Staniforth had initially only been placed on the stand by list by manager Phil Neville but injuries to Man City’s Izzie Christiansen and Arsenal’s Jordan Nobbs have handed the 25-year-old a chance.

The 2017-18 Supporters’ Player of the Year told the SAFC club website: “It is an honour to get my first senior international call up.

“I was delighted to have been on standby but to get the call that I’m in the squad is beyond amazing, and this is what I have been working hard for at Sunderland all season.”

Sunderland Ladies Head Coach Melanie Copeland: “It is a proud moment for Lucy and her family, but also for the club.

“Based on her club performances, she is worth of an international call up and everyone at SAFC Ladies and Sunderland AFC would like to wish her the best of luck during her time with the Lionesses.”

Kick-off against Russia is on Friday at 5pm.