Head coach Hege Riise says selecting the players to represent Great Britain at this summer’s Olympic Games was “the hardest decision I ever made”.

Her 18-strong squad, announced on Thursday, includes 15 England players, Wales skipper Sophie Ingle and Scotland pair Caroline Weir and Kim Little.

No players from Northern Ireland made the final squad.

“I’m comfortable that the selection we’ve done is a great group of players going into the Olympics,” Riise said.

The 51-year-old, who won Olympic gold as a player with Norway in 2000 and as USA assistant coach in 2012, said they were aiming to win gold in Tokyo.

“That’s what we are planning for. If you dream big, even better to achieve it. I think we all know we have little time to be the best team in the world, but we’ll take on that challenge and do the best we can.”

Riise is in temporary charge of England until the Netherlands boss Sarina Wiegman takes over in September.

She replaced Phil Neville, who was originally supposed to manage Team GB but opted to leave for Inter Miami instead.

And with the core of her squad coming from England – and 11 of the squad coming from one club in Manchester City – she hopes the players can gel into a gold medal winning outfit quickly.

“This has been the hardest decision I ever made, in respect of all the nations, great players to choose from.

“We hope to perform better and better together and hopefully at the end that we can be our best and see how far we get with that.

“This is the biggest tournament in history and to be a part of that is making me proud. I’m so happy for the girls that were selected and we are hopefully going to Tokyo to achieve something we all dream of.”

Riise also hopes players from Northern Ireland could be selected for future tournaments. The team recently qualified for Euro 2022 but the Norwegian feels the players lacked tournament experience – for now.

“I’m very happy and glad they qualified for the Euros,” Riise said. “It will give them more tournament experience.

“For the next Olympics there might be Northern Ireland players coming into the squad. This time they didn’t qualify, I feel.”

London 2012 quarter-finalists Great Britain start their Tokyo campaign against Chile on Wednesday, 21 July, before further Group E games against hosts Japan and 2016 bronze medallists Canada.

Steph Houghton, Caroline Weir and Sophie Ingle
Steph Houghton (England), Caroline Weir (Scotland) and Sophie Ingle (Wales) have been selected

Team GB squad for Tokyo Olympics

Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley, (Man City and England), Ellie Roebuck (Man City and England)

Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea and England), Lucy Bronze (Man City and England), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash and England), Steph Houghton (Man City and England), Demi Stokes (Man City and England), Leah Williamson (Arsenal and England)

Midfielders: Sophie Ingle (Chelsea and Wales), Kim Little (Arsenal and Scotland), Jill Scott (Man City and England), Keira Walsh (Man City and England), Caroline Weir (Man City and Scotland)

Forwards: Lauren Hemp (Man City and England), Fran Kirby (Chelsea and England), Nikita Parris (Lyon and England), Georgia Stanway (Man City and England), Ellen White (Man City and England)

Reserves: Sandy MacIver (Everton and England), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal and England), Niamh Charles (Chelsea and England), Ella Toone (Man Utd and England)

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