England‘s injury crisis has worsened with star forward Fran Kirby set to miss the 2023 Women’s World Cup later this year as she will undergo surgery for a knee problem.
Kirby has been sidelined since February with a knee issues after being forced off during Chelsea‘s 7-0 win over West Ham. She hoped to tackle the issue through physiotherapy, but having seen various specialists, she will have the operation this week.
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It is expected that Kirby will be out for around a significant amount of time and will play no part at this summer’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand. England begin their campaign on July 22 against Haiti.
Kirby said in a statement posted to social media on Tuesday: “Unfortunately after a few months of rehab the decision has been made that I will require surgery on my knee. I have been trying my best to not have to undergo this but unfortunately my progress has been limited due to the issue in my knee.
“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.
“I’m going to be doing everything possible to be ready for the start of next season and want to wish my teammates at Chelsea the best of luck for the rest of the season and my Lioness teammates the best of luck for the summer.”
Kirby will miss the remainder of Chelsea’s push for the Women’s Super League title, as well as their FA Cup final against Manchester United on May 14.
The 29-year-old is a key player for both club and country. She has won 65 caps for the Lionesses and started all of their matches last summer as they won Euro 2022.
The forward becomes the latest England star to be ruled out of the competition through injury as Sarina Wiegman faces an ever-increasing list of unavailable players.
Captain Leah Williamson injured her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while on Arsenal duty on April 20, with confirmation coming two days later that she was set to face a prolonged spell out of action and would miss the tournament.
Beth Mead, who was named player of the tournament at Euro 2022, also injured her ACL in December. There were hopes she would be fit in time for the competition, but Wiegman said in March that Mead would require a “miracle” to be available.