England forward Fran Kirby absent for World Cup qualifying double-header

Fran Kirby has not been selected for England’s forthcoming World Cup qualifiers (Mike Egerton/PA)

Chelsea forward Fran Kirby was a notable absentee from the England Women squad for the World Cup qualifiers against North Macedonia and Northern Ireland.

The 28-year-old has not featured in the last six matches for her club with manager Emma Hayes admitting last week she was giving the player some recovery time after a hectic nine months.

Kirby’s Chelsea team-mate Beth England does return to the squad, however, after missing last month’s Arnold Clark Cup due to injury, along with Arsenal’s Lotte Wubben-Moy, who was withdrawn from the previous international selection as she continued her rehabilitation.

Manchester City and England captain Steph Houghton is still absent after undergoing Achilles surgery last month as she faces a race against time to be fit for this summer’s home European Championship.

Injury issues have meant Houghton has yet to feature under Sarina Wiegman, who took charge of the side in September and has overseen six victories in as many World Cup qualifiers so far, with the Lionesses scoring 53 goals and conceding none.

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England face North Macedonia in Skopje a week on Friday and then Northern Ireland at Windsor Park four days later.

https://keep-your-pants-on.com/rugby/rugby-star-20-dies-after-suffering-injury-during-match-as-club-pay-tribute/

“Every time we play, we want to perform to our best and do what is necessary to get a good result. That will be no different for these two important fixtures,” said Wiegman, whose side are unbeaten in nine matches since she took over.

“It is also another opportunity for us to learn more about ourselves for the Euros, particularly against a team we will play in our final group stage match.

“For now though we have to think only about these next games, working hard to improve our style of play and performing well to get positive results.”

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