Reading-born midfield dynamo Fran Kirby will miss the 2023 Women’s World Cup after admitting defeat in her battle for fitness.
The Chelsea forward tweeted that after months of rehab, it is now clear she will need to undergo knee surgery meaning she will miss the England Lionesses bid to lift the World Cup for the first time in Australia later this year.
Kirby, who broke through and came to national attention with Reading FC Women, had been an integral part of Chelsea’s team but has been out of action for some time.
While England and Chelsea certainly have some serious strength in depth, Kirby’s unavailability will be a blow.
The forward started all England’s games during the victorious Euro’s campaign in 2022 and had formed a dynamic partnership with Sam Kerr at club level.
Kirby is the latest England player to be confirmed as missing the World Cup with Arsenal’s Beth Mead and captain Leah Williamson also out.