Chelsea star Fran Kirby misses out as Phil Neville names England squad for sell-out friendly against Germany at Wembley and trip to Czech Republic
- Phil Neville named his England squad to play Germany and the Czech Republic
- Ellen White and Georgia Stanway will be given the chance to prove their fitness
- Frank Kirby will miss out on the sell-out friendly against Germany at Wembley
- England will then head out to Ceske Budejovice to play the Czech Republic
Chelsea forward Fran Kirby has been left out of Phil Neville’s 21-player squad ahead of England’s sell-out game at Wembley on November 9.
The 26-year-old was also absent from the Lionesses last international friendlies against Brazil and Portugal after withdrawing through injury shortly after arrival at St George’s Park.
And Neville, now some 21 months into his reign as England boss, admits that it was frank conversations with both Kirby and Chelsea manager Emma Hayes that eventually led to her omission for their upcoming training camp.
Phil Neville named his England squad to play Germany and the Czech Republic on Tuesday
He said: ‘She knows where she is at this moment in time in terms of her own performances and fitness and she’s on a specialised programme at Chelsea,’ noting Kirby hasn’t got through 90 minutes for her club since the start of the FA WSL season.
‘If you think about the magnitude of the game next week against Germany, you need to be at a certain level in terms of your physicality, confidence and belief and Fran knows that she’s got to get back to that level in terms of confidence in her own body.’
It’s a decision that is sure to come as a relief to Hayes, who after Chelsea’s FA WSL win over defending champions Arsenal earlier this month, revealed her concerns over the future of Fran’s career.
‘I think it is important for everyone to know that she has made her way back from really critical injuries, she effectively has four kneecaps,’ explained Hayes, who has refrained from talking about Kirby’s long-running injury woes until now.
‘Everybody needs to look after Fran and we all have a collective responsibility to do that and recognise that she has had a really, really challenging time,’ Hayes added.
Toni Duggan returns after missing England’s last two games but Fran Kirby (pictured) is out
‘We cannot over expose her so that she is injured, in the team, injured, in the team. No more. We need to manage her. I have a responsibility to do that and England have a responsibility to do that, too.’
Toni Duggan, one of 17 players named that helped steer the Lionesses to the World Cup semi-final in France this summer, also makes a return to the senior international fold. Neville finally conceded during his press conference that the Atletico Madrid forward suffered an injury ahead of the tournament, hence her contributions falling short of expectations.
He said: ‘She had a big set-back in the summer. We rushed her back from an injury that she got on the first day of training in France.
‘I’ve seen her play over the last two or three weeks and she looks like she’s getting that sparkle in her eyes. She’s getting her mojo back and that’s why she’s earnt the right to come back into the squad. She’s a big player for us when she’s 100 per cent fit and she knows that.’
Manchester City teenager Lauren Hemp, who made her senior debut in England’s narrow 1-0 win over Portugal after being drafted in for the injured Jill Scott, has earned her first full call up.
The 19-year-old’s City team-mates Ellen White, Georgia Stanway and Gemma Bonner will also join the Lionesses at St George’s Park when the squad meet next week but Neville admitted he will continue to assess White and Stanway’s fitness before making a decision on their involvement.
England will travel to the Czech Republic four days after the home tie against Germany for their final international fixture of the year.
ENGLAND SQUAD TO PLAY GERMANY AND CZECH REPUBLIC
Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Toni Duggan (Atletico Madrid), Mary Earps (Manchester United), Beth England (Chelsea), Alex Greenwood (Lyon), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Abbie McManus (Manchester United), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Nikita Parris (Lyon), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Jodie Taylor (Reign FC), Carly Telford (Chelsea), Keira Walsh (Manchester City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal)