England manager Sarina Wiegman says Chelsea forward Fran Kirby has “shown enough quality” since her return from a serious injury to justify her selection in the Lionesses’ squad.
Kirby has made 3 appearances for the Blues at the start of this season, having missed 7 months due to a knee problem and, when asked whether Kirby deserved her call-up, Wiegman replied:
“Of course, it’s very nice that she’s back on the pitch and is fit and healthy. She did well with Chelsea when she came on the pitch.”
“I think she has been building up to those moments, also during the summer, and she’s shown enough quality in her performance that I think it’s good that she comes back in the team.”
Kirby played half an hour in her first two matches this campaign against Tottenham and Manchester City before lasting 55 minutes in the 2-0 win over West Ham last weekend.
The 30-year-old has yet to score a goal or provide an assist this season but Wiegman knows what she can do in an England shirt.
Wiegman decided against calling up another recently injured player
While Kirby was handed a call-up, European Championship Golden Boot winner Beth Mead was not so lucky.
The forward came on for her first appearance in 11 months against Aston Villa last Sunday, providing the assist for the Gunners’ last-gasp winner. However, Wiegman feels that she needs more minutes under her belt to justify selection for the national side.
The Lionesses have 2 important fixtures coming up
Kirby and her England teammates will take on Belgium in a doubleheader at the end of this month. They will be resuming their UEFA Nations League campaign, sitting 3rd in the group.
Last month, they secured a win in their opening group game versus Scotland before losing in the last minute against the Netherlands in their second fixture.