Friday, September 29, 2023

Why is Fran Kirby not playing at the World Cup? England star forced to watch Lionesses in historic final from home

England star Fran Kirby has not played a part in the Lionesses Women’s World Cup success this summer.

The Chelsea forward is one of the major absentees for Sarina Wiegman’s side who take on Spain in the World Cup final on Sunday.

Kirby was one of the first names on the England teamsheet last summerGetty

The serial Women’s Super League champion is one of the most successful players in the game but has had a torrid time off the pitch.

Kirby came close to retirement after being diagnosed with pericarditis just months after featuring in the 2019 World Cup.

The 30-year-old battled back to full fitness but was then struck down with extreme fatigue that sidelined her for four months last year.

Kirby defied expectations to recover in time to start all six games of England’s Euro 2020 triumph, scoring twice with three assists.

But she was excluded from Sarina Wiegman’s 23-woman squad for the World Cup and has been supporting her country from home.

Why is Kirby not playing at the World Cup?

Kirby was ruled out of the tournament after undergoing surgery on a knee injury in May.

She has not played since she was forced off in Chelsea’s Continental Cup semi-final win over West Ham at the start of February.

The forward had starred as England’s No 10 under Wiegman but her absence has opened the door for Manchester United’s Ella Toone to fill in.

Kirby is one of three high-profile England players missing through injury alongside captain Leah Williamson and Beth Mead.

Kirby is Chelsea Women’s all-time top goalscorerGetty

But she has spent most of 2023 on the sidelinesGetty

“I’ve been trying my best not to have to undergo surgery, but unfortunately my progress has been limited due to the issue in my knee,” Kirby wrote on Twitter.

“I’m absolutely gutted to announce that this means my season is over and I will not be able to make the World Cup in the summer.”

She added on Twitter: “I’m going to be doing everything possible to be ready for the start of next season and want to wish my team-mates at Chelsea the best of luck for the rest of the season and my Lioness team-mates the best of luck for the summer.”

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