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England's Beth Mead refuses to rule out World Cup comeback

Beth Mead refuses to rule out World Cup comeback
© Reuters
Arsenal and England attacker Beth Mead is "ahead of schedule" in her recovery from an ACL injury and refuses to rule out her chances of playing at this year's World Cup.

England Women and Arsenal Women forward Beth Mead has refused to rule out her chances of recovering from an ACL injury in time for this summer's Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The 28-year-old - who finished as Euro 2022 top scorer with six goals en route to winning the trophy with England - sustained the severe problem in a Women's Super League clash with Manchester United in November.

At the time, Mead's chances of playing at the World Cup were thought to be slim, and Sarina Wiegman admitted in March that the forward would need a "miracle" to make the tournament.

However, during a recent conversation with Sky Sports News, Mead revealed that she was ahead of schedule in her recovery and was pushing to come into consideration for a World Cup call-up.

"The injury's okay, I'm a good five months in and back on the pitch and kicking a ball again, feeling good, ahead of schedule. That's all I can do that's in my control right now," Mead said after receiving an MBE at Windsor Castle.

"I wouldn't say I'm confident [of going to the World Cup] because it's out of my control, but I'm working hard to get as close to it as possible - but at the end of the day, it's probably going to be Sarina's decision."

Beth Mead celebrates scoring for Arsenal Women on September 24, 2022© Reuters

Since Mead's ACL injury, a number of other high-profile female players have suffered similarly devastating issues, namely Lionesses captain Leah Williamson.

The Arsenal defender also fell victim to a cruciate ligament problem against Man United last month, and she has already confirmed that she will not be able to represent her country at the World Cup.

Two other Arsenal players in Dutch forward Vivianne Miedema and Austria right-back Laura Wienroither - who picked up her problem against Wolfsburg in the Champions League earlier this month - are in the treatment room with ACL issues too.

Meanwhile, Arsenal captain Kim Little is confirmed to be missing the remainder of the season due to a hamstring concern, and England boss Wiegman can empathise with Gunners manager Jonas Eidevall when it comes to injury absentees.

As well as Mead and Williamson, Chelsea forward Fran Kirby recently announced that she would miss the World Cup as she prepares to undergo surgery on a knee injury, while Blues teammate Millie Bright is also expected to spend at least a few more weeks out with an identical problem.

England have been drawn against Denmark, China and Haiti in World Cup Group D and will kick off their quest for a maiden title against the latter on July 22.

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Laura Wienroither in action for Arsenal Women on March 21, 2023
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