Fran Kirby never worried that she would miss the Euro 2022 tournament despite problems with fitness over the course of the last season.
The 28-year-old Chelsea player was part of the side that won the Women’s Super League last season but missed an extended period with fitness problems.
However she told Our Game Mag that she was in regular conversation with England’s head coach, Sarina Wiegman, to keep her informed of her circumstances and was ultimately included in the squad for this summer’s tournament.
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“It was one of those when you’re sitting there waiting for your phone to light up and say, ‘go to the room,’ a bit like X Factor, but no, it was nice,” she said.
“I walked in and I saw her smiling so then I was like, ‘Okay, hopefully she’s not smiling and sending me home.’ But yeah, it was really nice. She told me that she knew all along I was going to be an important part of this team, and we had some really honest conversations leading into it.
“I said to her, ‘I need you to be honest with me and I’ll be honest with you. If we both feel like I’m not ready, then we make that decision.’
“Obviously, it was a good conversation and she could see in the two weeks going into the Euros that I was growing in the team and I was in training and didn’t really feel like I’d been away, so that’s always a nice feeling.”
Kirby was fit by the end of the season and believed she was ready for inclusion for the Euros.
She explained:“That was a conversation I had with her. I gave everything I could in those two weeks to show I was in a good place going into it and she’s the one who makes that decisions in the end.
“You can only do as much as you can and hope that you’ve done enough, and for me, luckily I was one that did.
“Obviously, with my injury and illness history, it does take me a bit of time to recover from certain situations, or maybe there’s sessions where I can’t do the full session when we’ve had a game or we have a busy week.
“There’s been constant communication there and I feel like Sarina’s really taken it on board and she’s really managed the load, not just of me but everyone in the room. I think previously in England camp, we’ve all felt that we’ve had to all do exactly the same thing all the time, but everyone’s body is different, everyone’s body reacts differently to different situations.”
Despite her troubling fitness problem beginning in February that were not properly resolved until several months later, Kirby said: “I wouldn’t say there was fear, because I just didn’t really think about it. I never really had in the back of my mind, ‘Oh my god, I’m not going to get selected for the Euros now,’ because I just wasn’t focusing my energy feeling like that.

Fran Kirby of England reacts during the England Women Training Camp at St George's Park on June 01, 2022 in Burton upon Trent, England

Image credit: Getty Images

“Going to Chelsea training, I had conversations with Emma [Hayes] and just said, ‘Look, what will be will be, if I’m ready I’m ready.’
“I’m a believer that things happen for a season and either I’m going to be a part of the squad or I’m not. If I show, and I don’t get picked, then at least I know that I’ve done everything. There was definitely relief to get selected, but I don’t think it was a case of thinking about it every day, because it’s not in your control, it’s as much as you can do.
“I think there’s a lot more excitement being a home Euros. I’ve played in a few tournaments now and I’ve always felt like it’s been growing each time. Each tournament has grown bigger and bigger, so hopefully this one can go to another level.
“Every time, of course, when you get selected for England, it’s an amazing feeling, but I think this one being a home tournament, it’s extra special knowing for me, all my family can be in the crowd, or it’s not in Canada where my family can’t manage to get out to games, so I think little things like that are going to make a difference.”
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